Santander has opened the casting to choose one of the key managers in the organization chart of the group. The bank is looking for a new head of North America, one of the three geographical areas in which the business is divided, to relieve Hector Grisionce the Mexican banker has assumed the position of CEO since January 1.
It is a front row position, only below the president, Ana Botín, and Grisi himself. Under the umbrella of office is the business from the United States and Mexico, two of the fastest growing countries and what more benefit they bring to Santander. In the first nine months of 2022, the US country generated 20% of the group’s total profit and Mexico 12%. In fact, the current CEO of the bank has held the position for the last four years and will temporarily perform the duties until the entity finds a candidate.
With this, Santander will complete the renewal of the managers in charge of the geographical areas, coinciding with the next presentation of a new strategic plan scheduled for the end of February. In 2019 the entity decided to reorganize its business around three markets: North America, Europe and South America. The intention of the bank was have a more agile structure to avoid duplication and for each area to take advantage of the strengths of the group. The ultimate goal was for each country to incorporate in each country what worked in another to function as a well-oiled group and not as isolated areas.
At that time, Santander designed a two-headed structure for North America with Hector Grisi y Scott Powell in front of the business. The bank also appointed Gerry Byrne as head of Europe and put Sergio Rial in charge of the business in South America. Four years later, Santander will complete the relay of all of them.
Renovation of the areas
In the case of North America, Santander will undertake its third appointment since 2019. That same year, Scott Powell left the bank for Wells Fargo to join as head of operations. It was a controversial output, since Powell He gave up his bonuses in exchange for Santander annulling the clause that did not allow him to work for the competition. He too was a sensitive casualty. Powell had been mandated by the entity to remedy the entity’s problems with US regulations. Between 2014 and 2016, the bank failed the Federal Reserve’s stress tests: financial planning and risk management systems were not up to the task.
With the departure of Powell, the bank reduced its structure and the North American area began to be led by only one executive, Hector Grisi. Under his baton, both the US and Mexico skyrocketed the business. Grisi himself is credited with playing a key role in the transformation, with a 40% increase in customers and the digitization of banking operations. In fact, the US market has become the second in contribution to the group.
In Europe, he took over as head of the geographic area in 2020. At that time, Gerry Byrne decided to retire after 50 years in banking. Since then, the position has been held by the Portuguese banker Antonio Simoes. Businesses in Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Poland fall under his control and supervision. Until December, Simões made the position compatible with that of CEO of Spain.
For his part, Sergio Rial left his position as regional head of South America in January 2022. His position was filled by the Spanish Carlos Rey de Vicente, which remains at the forefront of the main geographic area of the bank. Brazil is Santander’s engine thanks to a diversified business ecosystem that goes from the Getnet digital platform to the card business, agribusiness, mortgages, and education. It has also extended the business in the field of ESG (environment, social, governance), culture and sports.
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