SANTANDER’S new boss has been named, following the death of Emilio Botin of a heart attack aged 79.

During his time as chairman, Emilio Botin transformed Santander from a small domestic lender into the Eurozone’s biggest bank.

Ana Botin – the former chairman’s daughter – will now take over Spain’s banking giant after being appointed by the board of directors.

The 53-year-old – who was previously the chief executive of Santander UK, and has been on the bank’s board since 1989 – is the fourth generation of the Botin family to take the top spot.

“The appointments and remuneration committee considered Ana Botin to be the most appropriate person, given her personal and professional qualities, experience, track record in the group and her unanimous recognition both in Spain and internationally,” said a spokesperson for the bank.

Business editor of the BBC, Kamal Ahmed, added that it would ‘not be too much of an exaggeration to put her in the top three women in the world with significant financial power’, along with Christine Lagarde at the IMF and Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve.

However, the appointment of Ana Botin could spark controversy now, as banking dynasties the world over are coming under scrutiny, following a scandal involving the founding family’s ‘financial irregularities’ at Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo.

“Succession shouldn’t just be saying ‘my daughter’s going to take over’,” said a corporate governance expert at a global asset manager which owns Santander shares.


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