Banco Santander reorganizes structure aiming for profitability targets

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Banco Santander reorganizes structure aiming for profitability targets
Credit: © Reuters.

Banco Santander SA (NYSE: SAN ), one of the world's largest retail banks, is set to undergo a significant reorganization under the leadership of CEO Hector Grisi. The restructuring aims to streamline operations and reach profitability targets, a move that might lead to a reduction in management layers and potential job cuts, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Spanish bank announced on Monday that it will merge individual countries' retail and commercial banking businesses into a new global unit, to be led by Daniel Barriuso. Additionally, a new digital consumer bank area will be established under the direction of Jose Luis de Mora.

This reshuffle will result in five units: retail and commercial, digital consumer bank, payments, wealth management and insurance, as well as corporate and investment banking. The restructuring closely resembles a plan unveiled last week by Citigroup (NYSE: C ) CEO Jane Fraser, which also involved major reshuffling into five main businesses and eliminating regional chiefs.

Grisi, previously heading the Mexico business, took over as CEO at the start of 2023. His tenure has been marked by numerous hires and management changes, including the departure of Antonio Simoes, who was seen as a potential CEO candidate. In April, Santander hired Christiana Riley, a former Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB ) executive, as head of its North American and Mexican operations starting October 1.

An expansion into U.S. investment banking is also on the horizon for Santander, with several new hires from Credit Suisse's ranks. The bank plans to align its financial results reporting to this new model starting in January 2024. The five global businesses will become the primary segments for the group while country- and region-specific data will transition to secondary segments.

This strategic shift follows Santander's adoption of a regional approach to managing its business in 2019 and the roll-out of the 'One Santander' strategy a year later. The latter aims to increase connectivity across the bank's operations spanning from Spain to the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the United States.

Banco Santander (BME: SAN ), with approximately 212,000 employees and a market capitalization of €55.7 billion ($59.5 billion), remains under the executive chairmanship of Ana Botin since her father's death in 2014.

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