Emilio Botín: the Man, the Legacy


18th September 2014

The world of banking and finance lost a giant, Emilio Botín, chairman of Banco Santander and Spain’s most influential business leader.
By Ricardo Ernst and Jerry Haar
On September 10th, the world of banking and finance lost a giant—a true transformational leader, Emilio Botín, chairman of Banco Santander andSpain’s most influential business leader.
His adage “The one who strikes first strikes twice” was one he followed to a T during his nearly three-decade tenure as the head of Santander. With a singular focus and unparalleled drive, Emilio Botín elevated Santander to one of the largest banks in the world with 102 million customers, 14,500 branches, and 190,000 employees. Operating across Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia, Euromoney named Santander “Best Global Bank” in 2012, and Bloomberg Businessweek cited the bank as a top “Greenest Global Bank” in 2013. With consolidated profits of 5.5 billion euros last year, This banking colossus offers the full gamut of services from retail, corporate and private banking, to wealth management, trade finance, treasury management, and mortgage banking.
Botín clearly defined leadership in banking. The third generation CEO of this family-owned Spanish enterprise, Emilio Botín began as a low-level manager and rose to the top job at the age of 43. His financial acumen, timing, and political savvy enabled him to steer the bank through tough times—the 1970s, for example—and capitalize on opportunities during good times. With …

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