Francisco González (FG) left "temporarily" his positions as honorary president of BBVA and the Foundation 19 hours before the shareholders meeting of the entity was held, which took place this Thursday in Bilbao. With the Villarejo case flying over the meeting, there was too much environmental pressure against him with two open investigations, one at the bank and another in the National Court, as well as supposedly compromising recordings of the former BBVA Security chief, Julio Corrochano, with the former commissar.
The play of the temporary cessation has been measured. Not being definitive, Francisco González has not admitted his guilt in the case, but has stepped aside, something that has relieved the pressure that Torres had. In the statement, Gonzalez made it clear that he is leaving "while the investigations are in progress."
But it is not a harmless way out. The bank insisted yesterday that it has been the decision of FG. But, from now on, it is no longer in his power to return to the presidency of honor of BBVA, but it is the power of Torres and the entire council. That is, he could only recover his status in the bank if the council appoints him again.
Gonzalez will be 75 years old in October and it is clear that a judicial investigation can take years. With the data that are known today, it is very difficult - although not impossible - for the investigations to conclude with an absolute exculpatory sentence of the former president. The most indulgent believe that they can have responsibility in watching, because if Corrochano hired Villarejo, the president must have known or had to have known. It is very difficult to believe that this subordinate had so much room for maneuver without any internal alarm jumping.
Inside the bank the feeling is that Gonzalez is gone forever, although with a masterful move and taking its toll on everyone he faced. Some sources also point out that at no time does he say that he is innocent of everything that is accused, although he claims that he managed "always with the principles of ethics".
Why did it cost you so much to resign? What rights did you have as honorary president? His condition allowed him to have a large office in the Palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, in Madrid, with secretary, driver, security service and corporate card. Some market sources pointed out that he requested the use of the bank's private plane, but Torres did not allow it. However, official BBVA sources have denied this and reminded that under his mandate he could only use it for professional activities, never for private reasons.
The fact is that González's shadow is moving away from BBVA as his aura of visionary manager, of independent executive in politics and, above all, of the company is blurred.e defender of business ethics.