NO-ONE was surprised when Ana Botin became Santander president on her father’s recent death.
Prior to Emilio Botin’s death from a sudden heart attack 20 days before his 80th birthday, he had resisted naming a successor although few doubted that his daughter would take over.
The rapid announcement of Ana’s appointment was greeted with relief by Spain’s finance sector, as Santander shares had begun to fall and instability at the bank would have had a knock-on effect.
The 53-year old daughter, the eldest of his six children, leaves her post of CEO at Santander UK. “I started at the bottom and nobody ever gave me anything,” she said in the past.
Now she is one of the most powerful women in Europe, taking over a bank with €1.2 trillion in assets and lending operations that stretch from Spain to the UK, the US, Brazil and Europe.