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Banesto chairman Ana Botin to run Santander UK arm

Source: Reuters - Thu 4th Nov 2010

Santander has appointed the chairman of its majority-owned Spanish retail bank Banesto, Ana Patricia Botin, as the new head of the eurozone's biggest bank's British division.

Ana Patricia Botin, the fifth generation of Spain's most famous banking dynasty, will take over from Antonio Horta-Osorio who is leaving Santander to become chief executive at British bank Lloyds.

Ana Patricia Botin, only the second woman ever to have chaired a Spanish bank, has led Banesto since 2002 and her move to Britain to head up Santander's UK arm is seen as a step on the way to succeeding her father as head of the euro zone's biggest bank.

She is the eldest of six children of Santander chairman and dealmaker Emilio Botin who took over the running of Santander bank from his father two decades ago and propelled the group from a small provincial bank into a world leader.

Banesto, under the chairmanship of the 50-year-old golf enthusiast, has weathered the impact of Spain's recession better than most of its mid-sized domestic peers through strict control of bad loans and cautious provisioning.

"Banesto is a highly regarded bank and one of the better quality Spanish domestic banks. Ana Patricia Botin knows her stuff," Matrix analyst Andrew Lim said.

Botin, the only Spaniard to rank in the 2009 Forbes List of the world's most influential women, will take over the management of Santander UK ahead of a planned listing of about 20 percent of the unit, slated for the first half of 2011.

"Taking up the UK job is good for Ana Patricia Botin. It will expand her international experience. Up to now she has just managed a domestic retail bank for the Santander group," said Unicredit bank analyst Tania Gold.

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