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Héctor Grisi nominated to succeed José Antonio Álvarez as CEO of Banco Santander

Héctor Grisi nominated to succeed José Antonio Álvarez as CEO of Banco Santander | Fintech Finance

The board of Banco Santander has announced today that Héctor Blas Grisi Checa, currently CEO of Santander Mexico and head of North America, has been nominated to become Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a group director, effective 1 January 2023, subject to customary approvals. Mr Grisi will report directly to the Board, in line with changes to the group’s management structure announced on 24 February 2022, with responsibility for managing all the group’s regions, countries and global businesses. The nomination has been made following a rigorous assessment process led by the Board Nominations Committee.

Mr Grisi will succeed José Antonio Álvarez who has been with the bank since 2002 and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2004 then CEO in January 2015. Following the transition, Mr Álvarez will remain on the Board as non-executive vice chair.

“The Nominations Committee has worked intensively to identify and assess a broad range of internal and external candidates for the CEO role, with the support of external advisors. Héctor Grisi is a seasoned expert who knows our business and is the right person to lead the bank with Ana. He brings a relentless focus on the customer, proven leadership in driving transformation and greater connectivity across the group, and a strong track record of delivering growth and profitability. On behalf of the Nominations Committee, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to José Antonio for his outstanding contribution to the group. During his tenure, the bank has increased the number of customers it serves by nearly 40 million, while driving significant improvements across key performance metrics and transforming its capital strength. We look forward to continuing to benefit from his experience and expertise on the board,” says Bruce Carnegie Brown, Lead Independent Director and chair of the Board Nomination Committee.

 

“I am extremely grateful to José Antonio for the exceptional contribution he has made to the bank over the past 20 years. His leadership and dedication have been central to Santander’s growth and success. I value his insight and support hugely and am delighted that he will remain on the Board as non-executive vice-chair and will continue to support the bank as we build on the progress of recent years. Héctor will be an outstanding successor to José Antonio. He brings decades of experience and a deep understanding of our markets and business, and a proven ability to lead in a collaborative way and create value for both customers and shareholders. His track record as CEO of Santander Mexico and head of North America speaks for itself and illustrates why we believe he is the right person to lead the bank in the next phase of our transformation and growth,” said Ana Botín, Banco Santander executive chair.

Since Mr Álvarez was appointed CEO, the bank has increased its Return on Tangible Equity (RoTE) from 11% in 2014 to over 14% in the first quarter of 2022, while growing its CET1 FL capital from 8% to over 12%. Revenues increased by over 35% in constant euros over the same period, as the bank added nearly 40 million customers, taking the total number of people and businesses it serves to 155 million on 31 March 2022.

Furthermore, thanks to ongoing digital and commercial transformation, the bank has achieved a top-3 ranking for customer satisfaction (Net Promoter Score) in nearly all the bank’s core markets, while maintaining one of the best efficiency ratios of any international bank at 45%. This performance has enabled the distribution of €15 billion in cash dividends over the period.

Mr Grisi joined Santander in 2015 as CEO of Santander Mexico. Since then, he has completed a transformation of the bank’s business in the country, achieving an adjusted return on tangible equity of 31% as at 31 March 2022, growing the number of active customers by nearly 50% to close to 10 million and doubling the number of loyal customers, while establishing leading market position in SMEs, Mid-Market Corps, Mortgages and Project Finance.

In 2019, he was appointed head of the Santander group’s North America region, covering both Mexico and the US. In 2021, the US achieved a record year for profitability, generating $2.7 billion compared to $648 million in 2018, making the largest contribution to profit of any market in the group. Furthermore, the connectivity within the region has improved significantly, leveraging cross boarder opportunities for revenue generation, while encouraging greater efficiency across the markets, reflecting the bank’s goal to build ‘One Santander’. As a result, the region’s profit has nearly doubled since 2019.

Mr Grisi’s professional career spans over 35 years. Before joining Santander, he spent 18 years at Credit Suisse, where he held a range of senior positions, including head of Investment Banking for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, then President & CEO of Credit Suisse Mexico. He was educated in Mexico and Canada and is a graduate of Iberoamericana University as BA in Finance.

“It has been an honour to be part of the Santander team for the past two decades. Santander is a truly exceptional organisation, and I will always be grateful to the many colleagues and friends I have worked with. I feel extremely proud of what we have achieved together and am confident that under the leadership of Ana and Héctor the organisation will continue to go from strength to strength. I look forward to supporting Héctor in the transition and helping the group evolve and build on its success as non-executive vice chair of the board,” said José Antonio Álvarez.

“I would firstly like to thank José Antonio for what he has done for the bank throughout his career, and the support he has provided me since the first day I joined. I am honoured to succeed him as CEO of Banco Santander and be offered the opportunity to build on what he, Ana, and the team have achieved. I firmly believe that Santander’s scale, diversification, and customer focus create opportunities for growth that are difficult for others to replicate. I am excited to get to work and have no doubt that we have the strategy, model and above all, the team, to create value for all our stakeholders and fulfil our potential,” said Héctor Grisi.

A process to identify a successor for Mr Grisi as CEO of Santander Mexico has begun, and further information will follow in due course.

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