Santander poaches UBS investment banker as chief executive in surprise shake-up
Andrea Orcel will take over as chief executive of Santander Group.
Santander Group has unexpectedly appointed a new chief executive, having poached a UBS investment banker to serve as its new boss.
The head of UBS’ investment bank Andrea Orcel will replace Jose Antonio Alvarez, who has been in the role since 2015.
Santander Group, which is the parent of Santander UK, said the shake-up was part of plans to replace Rodrigo Echenique, the group’s vice chairman and chairman of Banco Santander Spain.
Mr Alvarez has been appointed as his successor.
The changes are expected to formally take place in early 2019, following regulatory approvals.
Executive chairman Ana Botin said: “Andrea Orcel’s international experience and strategic expertise further strengthen our existing team, helping ensure we continue delivering on our current strategy as we have for the past four years.
“He brings a deep understanding of retail and commercial banking, as well as a strong track record in managing diverse teams across Europe and the Americas in a collaborative way.
“This will help us achieve our ambition to build the best retail and commercial bank, as well as a global digital platform, whilst preserving our proven subsidiary model.”
UBS said in its own announcement that it was appointing both Piero Novelli and Robert Karofsky as co-presidents of its investment bank, replacing Mr Orcel.
UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti said: “I want to personally thank Andrea for the outstanding work he did while at UBS.
“We worked together very well and, both as a friend and professionally, I congratulate him on his new appointment and wish him all the best.
“Rob and Piero are well placed to continue driving the success of the Investment Bank within our proven model.
“Both are veterans of the industry with significant experience and I am certain they will further advance our business.”