Sad to report.
Bloomberg News reports that Botin died of a heart attack in Madrid on Tuesday evening, a spokesman for the Santander, Spain-based lender said by telephone. The company’s board will meet later on Wednesday to name a successor, according to a filing to regulators.
Since becoming chairman in 1986, Botin spent more than $70 billion on acquisitions to extend the bank’s reach beyond Spain across markets from Brazil to Germany. While other Spanish lenders were forced to take government aid during the region’s fiscal crisis, Botin helped steer the company through the turmoil, taking more than $84bn in bad loans and writedowns over the past five years.
'This is unexpected and it’s a significant loss for Spanish banking,' Javier Diaz-Gimenez, a professor at the IESE business school, said in a telephone interview. 'Botin became a symbol of innovation, progress and leadership for transforming Santander from a small provincial lender into a global player and being at the forefront of the modernization of Spanish banking after the death of dictator Franco.'
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