Spain’s Santander drops Orcel as next CEO, blames pay gap

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spain's biggest bank Santander is seen on top of a tower at the entrance of the company's headquarters in Boadilla del Monte
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spain’s biggest bank Santander is seen on top of a tower at the entrance of the company’s headquarters in Boadilla del Monte, near Madrid, Spain, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Juan Medina

January 15, 2019

MADRID (Reuters) – Banco Santander <SAN.MC> said on Tuesday that Italian banker Andrea Orcel would not take over as chief executive after it could not meet his pay expectations.

Jose Antonio Alvarez will now stay on as CEO instead of Orcel, who previously worked for Swiss bank UBS <UBSG.S> and was appointed to the role at Spain’s largest bank in September.

“The cost to Santander of compensating Mr Orcel for the deferred awards he has earned over the past seven years, and other benefits previously awarded to him, would be a sum significantly above the board’s original expectations at the time of the appointment,” Santander said in a statement.

Santander said at the time of Orcel’s appointment in September that it would be effective in early 2019, following regulatory approvals.

“The Board of Santander had agreed the terms of his annual remuneration in his future role at Santander, which were in line with that of José Antonio Álvarez,” Santander said on Tuesday.

“It was not, however, possible, to determine in advance the final cost of the Group’s share of compensating Mr Orcel for the remuneration awards, made to him by his previous employer, that would have been foregone.”

Orcel did not immediately return requests for comment.

Orcel worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch <BAC.N> between 1992 and 2012. Both Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS have advised Santander on many corporate moves.

(Reporting by Andrei Khalip and Andres Gonzales; Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Alexander Smith)

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