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Botín’s coup clears the decks

The smoke clears around BSCH, and Emilio Botin emerges in front after his swift and successful coup de grace.

       
Angel Corcóstegui

By this summer it was clear that BSCH, as it was then called, was ripe for a second round of integration. But internal tension was growing and by the time Programa Dos, the second stage of consolidation, was given the green light it was apparent that both sides were not unanimously behind it.


Banco Santander was clearly the stronger of the two brands and this imbalance was accentuated at the board level, where Emilio Botín, owner of 3% of Santander Central Hispano, had a majority of votes. BCH's influence on the board was weak despite the presence of the coolly dynamic BCH chief executive Angel Corcóstegui, who was installed as CEO and vice-chairman at Santander Central Hispano at Botín's request. Corcóstegui, a well-regarded banker, was at Banco Vizcaya at the time of its merger with Banco Bilbao in 1988. He successfully managed to strengthen BCH's balance sheet and improved the bank's efficiency and commercial dynamism as CEO.


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