SANTANDER’S chairman Emilio Botin died on Tuesday night, after almost three decades at the top of the Spanish banking giant.
The 79-year old took over from his father in 1986 and turned the bank from a local lender into a global titan with a market value of €92bn at the time of his death.
His daughter Ana Botin was appointed to executive chairman yesterday afternoon by the board. “In these difficult times for me and my family, I appreciate the trust of the board of directors and I am fully committed to my new responsibilities,” she said.
She has been Santander’s UK CEO since 2012, and now leaves a vacancy at the helm of the high street bank.
Deputy CEO Nathan Bostock will fill the gap until a board meeting next week. He has only been at the bank for 22 days, moving over from RBS last month after a lengthy notice period at the rival lender. He is the frontrunner to become CEO on a permanent basis.
Ana Botin had long been seen as the heir to her father’s position at the top of the firm, but the succession was not planned for several years to come.
Santander entered the UK in 2004 with the purchase of Abbey National. It was headed by Antonio Horta Osorio until 2010 when he left to run Lloyds. He was replaced by Ana Botin in December 2010, who has focused on small business lending and winning new current account customers.
The plan is to float the bank on the stock market within the next year – after which Ana Botin would have moved closer to the chairmanship.
Banco Santander’s shares fell sharply on Emilio Botin’s death, but recovered to end down 0.65 per cent.