Banco Santander held an extraordinary board meeting yesterday afternoon to approve the rebalancing of powers between its executive chairwoman, Ana Botín, and the CEO, José Antonio Álvarez, financial sources told Europa Press.
With this decision, Álvarez will report directly to the board of directors and not to Botín, as he has been doing until now. This is a situation requested by the European Central Bank (ECB), so that the entity is ahead of the supervisor’s wishes.
In addition, the heads of the three major regions will report directly to Álvarez: Europe, South America and North America, and those of investment banking and private banking, as the newspaper ‘El Confidencial’ has advanced.
Thus, Santander’s ‘number two’ will continue to lead the business, while Botín will continue as chief executive and focus on the banking group’s long-term strategy. She will also add the areas of PagoNxt and Digital Consumer Bank to her duties.
These changes come after the ECB has expressed its support for the Anglo-Saxon corporate governance model, in which power is shared between a chairman with more institutional functions and a CEO at the head of the business. This is opposed to the Spanish model, in which the figure of the chairman, who brings together executive and institutional functions, stands out.
This is the context of the separation of powers at Banco Sabadell at the beginning of 2021, when the departure of Jaime Guardiola as CEO brought the change of Josep Oliu to non-executive chairman, while César González-Bueno became the lender’s first executive figure.