People: Luzón next in line at Santander
Sáenz continues to fight court conviction; Luzón looks best placed to succeed him
Alfredo Sáenz intends to appeal his conviction; Francisco Luzón (inset) is his heir apparent
In March, Spain’s Supreme Court upheld a conviction against Santander chief executive Alfredo Sáenz that suspended him from banking for three months.
Sáenz and Santander say they will continue to fight the conviction, including an appeal to Spain’s constitutional court, and Sáenz remains very much in place as CEO.
A Santander insider says: "The Bank of Spain has not asked for his resignation and we do not expect it to do so." He also said that "it is very unlikely that Sáenz would want to leave Santander under a cloud".
However, in recent months speculation has begun to grow about how long Sáenz will stay in his role, and who is likely to succeed him. Sáenz is 68 years old and has been CEO of Santander since 2002.
That speculation began at the end of last year when António Horta-Osório, formerly head of Santander’s fast-growing UK operations, left the bank to become chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group.
Horta-Osório’s success in the UK, as well as his experience running Santander’s businesses in Brazil and Portugal, had made him the strong favourite to replace Sáenz when the time came.