Four months on, there is evidence that a new chapter being written, firstly with the changes on the bank board and subsequently the unexpected change in executive management, with the CFO becoming CEO. Added to this has been a radical start to the year: a €7.5 billion fresh share issue. A new dividend strategy was also announced.
In 120 days, Ana Botín has managed to go against the principle of Lampedusa’s masterpiece, The Leopard: If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change. A lot has changed at the euro zone’s third biggest bank without being noticed. The management team is similar, but at the same time different; they have added €7.5 billion of real capital to their balance sheet. And the market is aware of their commitment to dividend payments (20 cents per year, around 3% of the lender’s current capitalization) clearly linked to their profits.
It’s a simpler, modernised Santander. Now let’s see how the market responds when spring comes.