Saenz Steps Down as Santander CEO

Gilead Sciences GILD NASDAQ:GILD

On Monday, Banco Santander SAN announced that Alfredo Saenz has resigned as CEO ahead of a decision by Spanish regulators that would have effectively decided whether his criminal conviction should disallow him from working in banking. Until recently, Spain’s rules had prevented anyone with a criminal conviction from holding a senior position in banking. Saenz was convicted in 2009 of making false criminal acquisitions against clients years earlier when he had worked for Banesto, one of Santander’s predecessors. After a number of legal battles, the central bank recently opened hearings into the matter. Saenz will be replaced by Javier Marin, who had served as managing director of the bank. This transition at the top comes as little surprise, as Saenz, who is 70, was likely to step aside in the coming years for one reason or another, in our opinion. We think Marin, a 22-year veteran of the bank, is likely to make only modest changes to the company’s strategy.

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