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Santander shares are higher as it names Andrea Orcel as its new CEO

Santander shares are higher Wednesday, as the Spanish banking giant has announced UBS investment banking head, Andrea Orcel, as its new group CEO. Orcel will take the helm in January 2019, succeeding José Antonio Álvarez, who is leaving that position to become Executive Vice Chairman of the Group and Chairman of Banco Santander Spain.

By 1035 BST, Santander shares were 0.20% higher at €4.48. The stock has been moving broadly higher in recent weeks.

Santander’s new CEO

Orcel is a UBS veteran, but also an experienced adviser to the Botin family, who controls Banco Santander.

“Andrea Orcel’s international experience and strategic expertise further strengthen our existing team, helping ensure we continue delivering on our current strategy as we have for the past four years,” said Ana Botin, Executive Chairman of Banco Santander.

“He brings a deep understanding of retail and commercial banking, as well as a strong track record in managing diverse teams across Europe and the Americas in a collaborative way, Botin said.

“Andrea has worked closely with us for the past two decades, in the development and execution of our strategy, and understands and is aligned with the Santander culture,” she added.

Orcel also expressed his pleasure at the news.

“I am exceptionally proud and excited to be joining Santander as CEO and working with Ana, José Antonio and all of the organisation as we continue to ensure Santander excels,” Orcel said. “My immediate priority is to meet as many of my new colleagues as possible, and gain a new perspective on Santander from them.”

Other Santander changes

As well as announcing Orcel to his new role, Santander also detailed other changes to the bank’s leadership team.

Following the previous news that Rodrigo Echenique will retire from his role as Executive Vice Chairman of the Group and Chairman, at the end of this year, the Santander board also announced that Antonio Álvarez will succeed Echenique as Vice Chairman of the Group and Chairman of Santander Spain.

This will mean Álvarez and Bruce Carnegie-Brown will be the Santander Group’s two Vice Chairmen. Álvarez, meanwhile, will be the only one of the two who will have an executive role.

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