José Antonio Álvarez will finally cease to be CEO of Banco Santander. Almost four years after his replacement by Andrea Orcel was announced, a frustrated signing that ended in a millionaire lawsuit, the number two of the bank will leave his position at the end of the year in favor of Héctor Grisi, current head of the Mexican subsidiary and of the business in north america, one of the main markets for the bank by level of profit.
The signing announced this Friday by the bank is very relevant in the sector and for the entity. First, because José Antonio Álvarez was one of the most recognized faces of banking in Spain, since he had held the position since 2015, when Botín became president on the death of his father. Álvarez has been the president's right hand man ever since. In 2018, his departure from the position was announced to take over the presidency of the Spanish subsidiary, a position for which relief was needed. However, Orcel's appointment ended in fiasco and the entity had to end up compensating the Italian banker.
Since then, in the press conferences in which Álvarez participated, it was a recurring question when he would leave office. When he finally leaves, it will have been almost four years since the failed relief. The banker will remain on the board of directors, as non-executive vice president.
The second reason for the relevance of Santander's announcement is in the elected manager. Grisi is responsible for Santander Mexico, a market that has become a target for the entity. Santander is in the midst of a dispute over Banamex, the subsidiary of Citi in Mexico and for which it competes with several Mexican businessmen, including millionaire Carlos Slim. This operation would allow the bank to approach BBVA, the main bank in this market.
Grisi came to the bank in 2015, for the Mexican subsidiary. In 2019, he was appointed regional manager for North America, whose main markets are Mexico and the United States. In 2021, the United States achieved the best results in its history, with a profit of 2,750 million dollars, compared to 648 million in 2018, and became the country that contributed the most to the Group's profit. The bank has assured in a press release that the selection process for a substitute for Grisi in Mexico has already begun.
The new CEO comes to the position a few months after the bank announced a reorganization of the responsibilities of the executive leadership, giving greater weight to the figure of the CEO. So, Gray will answer to the board of directors and not to the executive presidentas was the case prior to the change.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the Santander team over the last 20 years. Santander is a great organization, and I will always be immensely grateful to all the colleagues and friends with whom I have worked”, Álvarez assured in the press release released by the bank this Friday. Álvarez received 9.1 million euros as CEO of the bank last year.