Pedro Castro e Almeida will replace António Simões who is leaving the bank to take on a new role as group chief executive officer of Legal and General Group plc. Mr Simões will continue in his current position until the 1 September to ensure a smooth transition and will begin his new role in January 2024.

Under Mr Castro e Almeida’s leadership, Santander Portugal has become the most efficient and profitable bank in the country.

Madrid, 15 June 2023.
Banco Santander is to appoint Pedro Castro e Almeida as regional head for Europe. Mr Castro e Almeida, who is chief executive officer of Santander Portugal, will replace António Simões, who is leaving the bank to take a new role as group chief executive officer of Legal and General Group plc.

As regional head, Mr Castro e Almeida will be responsible for the bank’s businesses in Europe (including Santander banks in Spain, UK, Poland and Portugal) and leading transformation in the region, reporting to the group CEO, Héctor Grisi. He will maintain his current position as CEO of Santander Portugal, with the CEOs of Spain, the United Kingdom and Poland reporting to him.

Mr Castro e Almeida joined Santander Portugal in 1993 and has been CEO for the past five years. During that period the business has gone through a major transformation, including a radical simplification and automation of operational tasks, becoming the most efficient and profitable bank in the country. Before becoming CEO, he was a board member of Santander Portugal and held various leadership roles within the bank.

The appointment will take effect from 1 September, subject to customary approvals, with Mr Simões continuing in his current position until then to ensure a smooth transition.

António Simões joined Santander in 2020 and has played an integral role in the transformation of the bank’s European business. Under his leadership, the bank has made significant progress in integrating its businesses across the region and building One Santander. This resulted in an increase in underlying profit in Europe from €1.1 billion in 2020 to €3.8 billion in 2022, and an excellent first quarter this year with profit up 19% year-on-year. Profitability in the region has increased from 3% RoTE in 2020 to 13% in Q1 2023, on the back of a growing franchise that has added more than 1 million total customers in the last 12 months.

Pedro has done a great job in leading Santander Portugal, positioning the bank as a leader in customer satisfaction, efficiency and profitability, and a model for successful transformation. He is the right person to take the region forward and build on the progress António and the team have made in advancing towards One Santander. I would like to thank António for his contribution to our transformation in Europe. We are grateful to him for his hard work and dedication. Being offered the opportunity to lead a listed company is a testament to his achievements and we wish him continued success in his new role.

Ana Botín, Banco Santander executive chair

I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead our business in Europe. We have already made great progress in building toward One Santander in the region and have an outstanding team in place. I look forward to leading the region through a new phase of value creation and achieving the objectives outlined in the group Investor Day this year.

Pedro Castro e Almeida, CEO of Santander Portugal

I am extremely proud of the progress we have made in the past three years in turning around our business in Europe and driving growth in the region. We have achieved a huge amount together and I am very grateful to the team for their commitment and hard work, and to Ana and Héctor for their constant support. Pedro has a proven track record in delivery, and I am confident he and the team will continue building on the progress made in strengthening our business, supporting our customers and people, and delivering sustainable shareholder value.

António Simões, regional Head of Europe