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Latin America: Grisi gears up for SanMex challenge

Santander Mexico’s new CEO faces the challenge of evolving a business, while his predecessor keeps watch from the boardroom.

By Ben Edwards

Héctor Grisi-600

"You are not coming from a really low base and it is really easy to move. It is the other way around: it is a very nice bank and it is very efficient, so it is not easy to find and fine tune the minor details you need to change in order to make this thing much better”

Hector Grisi is standing behind his new desk one morning in early February, staring at a bank of computer screens that are blinking and flashing in a depressing but familiar crimson dance. Stock markets across the world are tanking. Oil has stumbled back to around $30 a barrel. And the peso, already one of the world’s worst-performing currencies, is trading at a fresh low against the dollar. The only green on the screens is gold. It is another tough day in the global financial markets, something that Grisi has become accustomed to since he became chief executive of Santander Mexico at the start of December.

Taking over Mexico’s third-biggest bank by deposits during one of the worst starts to a year for financial markets in decades does not faze Grisi.

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