December 15, 2016 / 4:50 PM / 7 months ago

Spain's Banco Popular CEO says new chairman does not have mandate to sell bank

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MADRID, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Spain's Banco Popular said on Thursday incoming chairman, Emilio Saracho, did not have a mandate to sell the bank following reports he could consider a merger as the solution to its financial woes.

Popular, the weak link of Spain's banking sector, said on Dec. 1 it would replace Chairman Angel Ron with Saracho, a JP Morgan Chase vice president. Saracho will take over by the first quarter of 2017.

Ron had long maintained that Popular was financially strong enough to remain independent, and bankers and analysts consider that his ouster could mark it out for a potential takeover.

"Emilio Saracho does not have a mandate to do that, as far as I know," CEO Pedro Larena told reporters at a banking conference.

Reporting by Angus Berwick and Jesus Aguado

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