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Banco Sabadell: Guardiola makes light of local difficulties

Banco Sabadell’s chief executive doesn’t take a solemn view of his job. His cheerful optimism is reflected in his bank’s strategy. Spain’s difficulties offer opportunities for the Catalan bank both domestically and overseas in Florida and Latin America. Philip Moore reports.

Jaime Guardiola, chief executive of Banco Sabadell

"Solving problems is a way of making life more fun"

Jaime Guardiola, Banco Sabadell

"FUN" IS PROBABLY not the first word that would spring to the minds of most bank chief executives to describe their experiences over the past three years. Navigating their banks through the most severe crisis for the industry in living memory might have been challenging. At times it might even have been invigorating. But "fun"? Surely not. "I have more fun," is, however, how Jaime Guardiola responded when a Spanish newspaper asked him to compare his time as chief executive of Banco Sabadell with his previous post, head of Spain and Portugal at BBVA. "Of course things would have been more comfortable had the economy been growing," Guardiola says. "But what I meant was that solving problems is a way of making life more fun."

If solving problems is what makes Guardiola tick, the Spanish banking industry is not a bad place to be. But when he was appointed as chief executive of Sabadell in June 2007 there was little to suggest quite how formidable those problems were about to become across the entire Spanish banking sector.

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