Four hundred years after the Spanish Armada failed to invade Britain, the Spanish are now firmly in control of two of the largest banks in the UK. The announcement of the first two appointments since Antonio Horto-Osorio was hired as CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, both from Santander is significant for both banks.
The announcement of the departure of the feisty Carol Seargent, Chief Risk Officer, from Lloyds Banking Group made a few weeks ago had caused some head scratching, but now all has become clear with the appointment of Juan Colombas, Head of Risk at Santander. Since the banking crisis, the role of CRO has become increasingly important and Santander was one of the global banks least impacted by and best able to take advantage of the turmoil in the markets.
Bringing in the CFO of Santander UK, Antonio Lorenzo as Director of Wealth and International will bring global experience to this role. As suggested in the entry 'Santander boss Horta-Osório to be new Lloyds chief executive' on November 3rd, the appointment of both Horta-Osorio and now Lorenzo, hopefully will result in a more outward looking strategy for Lloyds Banking Group and may even lead to a return to Lloyds Bank's Latin American history.
As Horta-Osorio brings in members of his team that he has worked with for some time, in response Ana Botin is bringing in members of her team from Banesto into Santander UK. Ana Botin officially starts in her new role today, very appropriately the first day of Advent, when across the world people all wait expectantly for what is to come. 2011 looks to be an exciting year for banking here in the UK and across the world.
Update: As a result of the defection of Horta-Osorio, Colombas and Lorenzo to Lloyds Banking Group, Santander has announced that the planned flotation of Santander UK has had to been postponed until the second half of 2011. The reason given is that this will give the City a chance to get to know the new team of Spaniards running Santander in thr UK and improve the chances of the flotation successfully getting away. In the meantime Santander has to hope that the economic situation in Spain does not deteriorate too much as it waits longer for the capital from the flotation.