Following Santander Portugal’s announcement of the passing of its chairman, Antonio Vieira, Santander Group executive chairman, Ana Botín, has issued this statement:

Early this morning we lost a dear friend and a great leader and professional Antonio Vieira, Chairman of Santander in Portugal and until recently our CEO. Antonio joined Santander many years ago, he was part of my team from the beginning and was with us in different roles for 20 years. Antonio was passionate about his job and passionate about life. He was a true responsible banker, who delivered always and always the right way.

This morning when I was speaking to Pedro, our Portugal CEO and later to Rita, Antonio’s daughter I felt very personally the true dimension of this crisis. It was one of the saddest moments ever. Antonio left us way too soon. His daughter will not be able to attend a funeral as she has the virus herself. My colleagues and I — even though most of us are still healthy — will also be unable to do so.

I want to tell everyone in the extended Santander family and beyond, to all our communities and Governments and authorities, CEOs, let’s work together to save lives, and to save the jobs that can help save lives. Let’s each one of us contribute what we are best at, and forget ideologies and political parties, we are all one global family. Working together we can solve this faster and recover faster. Today I also want to send my personal condolences to the many people across the Santander family and especially in Portugal. And to all the other families who are grieving their friends and loved ones today. 

Thank you Antonio it has been a privilege to be your colleague and friend.