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Banking

Rial’s promotion underlines Santander’s LatAm shift

The gravitational pull of Latin America on Santander has resulted in the move to appoint Santander Brasil CEO Sergio Rial to the bank’s board as executive director.

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Santander's Sergio Rial

Rial has had a big impact on Santander since he joined as head of its Brazilian bank in 2015. He has led that unit’s transformation, with return on equity (ROE) increasing from 14% to 21%.

Announcing Rial’s promotion to the board, Santander Group executive chairman Ana Botín commented: “[Rial] has delivered great results and fostered cultural change, increasing the engagement of our teams and the number of customers that recommend Santander.

“I am certain that his vision will provide great value to the board.”

In February, Euromoney reported on the growing importance of Latin America for the group’s revenues, profits and margins.

The region has surged from contributing 35% of total underlying attributable profit in 2015 to 41% in 2018 – and that figure is likely to continue to climb.

And it is not just a relative outperformance caused by weakness elsewhere. Total attributable profits increased from €2.72 billion to €4.06 billion during the same period, and that growth came despite sharp falls in Latin American currencies.

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