Sants was hired at the start of this year to run the bank’s compliance operations, after spending five years at the Financial Services Authority and re-moulding much of the regulatory system.
Sir Hector is expected to take three months off, with senior colleagues dividing his role between them in his absence.
As a period of sick leave, he will be paid his full salary over the coming months. He is thought to be on a package amounting to around £3m per year.
Although serious, taking a break when suffering exhaustion is no longer the job or even career-ending move it was once considered to be.
In late 2011 Lloyds’ Banking Group’s boss Antonio Horta Osorio took time off for similar reasons, and has since led the turnaround of the lender, which is on its way back to being a fully privately-owned bank.
By contrast Andy Hornby left Alliance Boots less than a year after taking the top job. It is thought he was suffering from stress after returning to front line business too soon after the collapse of HBOS.
Meanwhile, Barclays’ new finance director Tushar Morzaria took up his position yesterday. It was revealed that Barclays has given Morzaria £3.2m of shares to exit JP Morgan’s bonus programme. He is replacing outgoing finance chief Chris Lucas, who is retiring earlier than planned due to ill health.