Mario Roberto Opice Leão will succeed Mr Rial as CEO of Santander Brazil and Carlos Rey de Vicente will become regional head of South America for Santander Group.

Sérgio Rial remains a member of the Santander Group’s board of directors, chairman of Ebury, and a member of the board of PagoNxt, Santander’s global payments fintech.

Sérgio Rial , Mario Roberto Opice Leão and Carlos Rey
Sérgio Rial , Mario Roberto Opice Leão and Carlos Rey

Madrid/São Paulo, 28 July 2021.
Sérgio Rial, CEO of Santander Brazil and regional head of South America for the Santander Group, is to be appointed chairman of Santander Brazil’s board of directors, beginning 1 January 2022. Following nearly seven years as CEO of the Brazilian subsidiary, Rial is to step down from his executive role and will be succeeded by Brazilian Mario Roberto Opice Leão, who has been head of Santander Brazil’s Corporate Business division since 2015.

Sérgio Rial’s responsibility as regional head of South America for the Santander Group will pass to Carlos Rey de Vicente, who will lead the region from 1 January 2022. Mr Rey, who is currently the vice president of Finance at Santander Brazil and a member of its executive committee, has worked closely with Sergio Rial in recent years in developing and executing growth plans within the South America region. Having previously worked in the America Division of Santander Group, Carlos Rey de Vicente is deeply knowledgeable of the region, with more than 20 years of experience in Latin America, and the Brazilian market itself, where he has been working for more than seven years.

Commenting on Sergio, Mario and Carlos’ appointments, Ana Botín, executive chairman of Banco Santander, said: “Back in 2015 one of my top priorities was to put in place an outstanding leadership team in Brazil, and after a thorough process, the board and I were clear Sergio was the right person for us. Since then Sergio and his team have helped Santander Brazil become one of the most profitable and efficient banks in South America, with a strong track record in innovation and customer focus - leveraging the power, connectivity and opportunities that come from being part of one of the largest banking groups in the world. A special thanks to Sergio for his leadership in the last seven years, which has delivered beyond our expectations on every front. I look forward to working with him, Mario and Carlos as we continue to deliver on our strategic goals, helping people and businesses to prosper, and building ‘One Santander’.”

Sergio Rial said: “Over the past two years, the board of directors and I have worked together with group management to ensure we have a seamless succession strategy, leveraging the strength and continuity within our current management team, who together have led one of biggest transformations in the financial industry. Our goal is to continue building on the success of the past seven years, and I look forward to working with Mario and the team as we begin a new phase in the company’s development based on a brave, fearless, intelligent and, above all else, human culture.”

The success of Santander Brazil in recent years has been supported by a robust and diversified business ecosystem, ranging from Getnet and Toro Investimentos to the launch of fintechs in corporate benefits (Ben Visa Vale), personal loans (Sim) and debt renegotiation (emDia). The strategy also involved the strengthening of businesses such as Santander Financiamentos and Webmotors, as well as achieving leadership status or expanding in several segments, namely cards, agribusiness, mortgages, education, ESG (enviromental, social, governance), culture and sports. Over the last few years, Santander Brasil has registered the best efficiency ratio and one of the highest return on equity (RoE) in the industry.

Mario Roberto Opice Leão, who has been a member of Santander Brasil’s executive committee for four years, was also placed in charge of medium-sized companies at the bank last year, expanding the scope of his responsibilities. He has over 25 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in production engineering from the Escola Politécnica de São Paulo. Before joining Santander in 2015, Leão had a successful career in leading roles in Corporate and Investment Banking at Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He will also be appointed as a member of the board of directors of Santander Brazil.

Mario Leão’s current responsibilities will be assumed by João Marcos De Biase. As a result, in addition to De Biase, as of January, Santander Brazil’s Executive Committee will include Andrea Almeida, who joined the bank this year after serving as CFO at Petrobras, and will be responsible for the Finance VP; and Elita Vechin Pastorelo, currently the legal officer at the Wholesale Banking division, will lead the Human Resources and Ombudsman VP. With that, the bank’s executive committee, which is increasingly diverse, will have four women, since Patricia Audi continues to lead the Institutional Relations, Sustainability and Events units, and Vanessa Lobato will take over the Retail division, the main business area of the company, succeeding Juan Moreno.

After a highly successful career in the Brazilian financial system, Álvaro de Souza will step down from Santander Brazil’s board of directors, which, in addition to Rial, will also include Angel Santodomingo and Alberto Monteiro Neto as members, both of whom remain in their roles at the helm of the CFO and Wealth Management divisions, respectively.

The changes outlined above are subject to the receipt of all necessary approvals.