Madrid, 22 December 2020 - PRESS RELEASE
Banco Santander's board of directors has resolved, at the proposal of the appointments committee, to appoint Ms Gina Diez Barroso as a new independent director after having obtained the required regulatory authorisations.
Ms Gina Diez Barroso, a Mexican entrepreneur, is the founder and president of Diarq Group, a Mexican architecture and design company that carries out real estate projects in Mexico and the United States. She is also the founder and president of Universidad Centro, Mexico City's first university specialising in creative studies. She has a long career dating back more than 20 years in the real estate and education sectors, in addition to the experience she acquired in banking as an independent director of Banco Santander Mexico. She has extensive knowledge of responsible business and sustainability having been a charter member and trustee of foundations focusing on education, gender diversity and social support.
Ms Diez Barroso will fill the vacancy left by Mr Rodrigo Echenique, who will step down from his role as director after 32 years at the Santander Group. He stepped down from his executive positions as vice chairman of the bank and chairman of Santander Spain in May 2019.
Ms Diez Barroso’s appointment has immediate effect and will be submitted for ratification at the next general shareholders’ meeting of Banco Santander.
Banco Santander executive chairman Ana Botín said: “Gina Díez Barroso has vast knowledge of the US and Mexico, two of the group’s most important markets. She will also add additional expertise in areas such as real state, banking, education, and sustainable business. Her arrival means 40% of our board will be women.”
Commenting on Mr Echenique, Ms Botin said, “On behalf of the board I would like to reiterate what a privilege and honour it has been to have Rodrigo with us. He has been pivotal to the growth and success of Banco Santander over the last 30 years, from the launch of the Supercuenta in 1989 to the recent acquisition of Banco Popular. We’ll certainly miss him greatly.”
With the addition of Ms Gina Díez Barroso, the board of directors of Banco Santander will continue to be made up of 15 members, 10 of whom are independent directors. Furthermore, 40% of the board will once be women, meaning the board will again reach the target of ensuring that both genders' representation remains between 40% and 60%. Santander’s board is also diverse in terms of nationality (Spanish, British, Brazilian, American, Mexican and Portuguese) and in the sectors represented (financial, industrial, technological and academic).
Country head Argentina
The board has also agreed to appoint Alejandro Butti as the new CEO and country head of Santander Argentina, subject to regulatory approvals. He will report to Head of South America, Sérgio Rial. Alejandro, who has been with Grupo Santander for over 25 years, is a member of Santander Argentina’s executive committee and, until now, headed Santander Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) in Argentina. He previously led commercial relations with CIB corporates and also worked in risk management. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de Buenos Aires and an MBA from IAE Business School.
Sergio Lew, who has played an important role in driving Santander Argentina's growth in the last two and a half years, will return to the CIB business in the United States, where he has spent a large part of his professional career and collaborated to implement a global service model with a focus on Latin America. He will remain as country head of Santander Argentina until 31 March 2021 to ensure a smooth transition.