Mr Simões will join the bank from HSBC on 1 September, subject to regulatory approval.

He will have managerial responsibility and oversight of the bank’s businesses in Europe.

Madrid, 12 May 2020
Banco Santander is to appoint António Simões as regional head of Europe. António will join the bank on 1 September, subject to regulatory approval, and will have managerial responsibility and oversight of the bank’s businesses in Europe with reporting lines from the country heads of Spain, UK, Portugal and Poland.  António will be a member of the Group management committee and report to the Group CEO, José Antonio Alvarez.

António joins the bank from HSBC where he has led a number of businesses over the past 13 years, both in London and Hong Kong.  He was most recently CEO, Global Private Banking and before that António was CEO for the UK and continental Europe.  Before joining HSBC, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company in their London office and was also at Goldman Sachs.

Group executive chairman, Ana Botín, said: “I am delighted to welcome António to Santander and am confident that under his leadership we will continue building on the progress already made in the region – simplifying our business model and leveraging our digital transformation to further improve the products and services we offer our customers.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Simões said: “I am excited to be joining Santander. This is a critical time for the financial services industry when there are many societal and commercial factors posing both sizeable challenges, but also significant opportunities for us, not least the technology and innovation agenda. I am looking forward to continuing to build a ‘one Europe’ platform in this evolving landscape, leading the transformation of the business and working with some of the most talented people in banking.”

António will succeed Gerry Byrne who, after a career spanning nearly 50 years in banking, has decided to retire at the beginning of next year.  

Gerry became part of the Santander Group in 2011 when he took on the role of chairman of Bank Zachodni WBK’s supervisory board.  Since then he has played an integral role in the development of Santander’s business in Poland and today it is one of the most technologically advanced and innovative banks in its peer group. 

Commenting on Mr Byrne’s retirement, Ms Botín, said, “I would like to thank Gerry for the outstanding contribution he has made throughout a remarkable career. Since early 2019, Gerry has led the European region, after committing to work for up to two years to begin a period of transformation in Europe before his retirement. The progress made under his leadership is helping us to better leverage the combined strengths of our European businesses, adapting our technology platforms to improve how we serve our customers and create ‘one Europe’.”  

Santander created the regional organisational structure last year to support and accelerate its strategy, with a simplified management structure supporting greater agility and collaboration, as well as maximising opportunities to leverage the Group’s expertise across its countries and global businesses. Sergio Rial, Santander Brazil’s CEO and Héctor Grisi, Santander Mexico’s CEO, lead the South American and North American respectively, with the bank’s country heads acting as the primary Group representatives in each market across all regions.

The bank’s European businesses serve 9.9 million loyal customers and 14.2 million digital customers, with c.70,000 employees and 4,900 branches. In the first quarter, the bank achieved more than €100 million in efficiencies with costs falling 5% in real terms year-on-year. The bank’s aim is to achieve €1 billion in cost savings in the medium term.