May 12, 2020 / 3:23 PM / 18 days ago

Santander hires HSBC executive as regional head of Europe

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Santander bank is seen at a branch in Mexico City, Mexico April 12, 2019.REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Santander (SAN.MC) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Antonio Simoes, head of global private banking at HSBC (HSBA.L), as its regional chief for Europe, one of the Spanish bank’s three big geographical regions.

Simoes joins Santander from the HSBC, where he has led a number of businesses over the past 13 years in London and Hong Kong, at a time when the Spanish bank is focused on cost cuts in Europe.

“Antonio will join the bank on Sept. 1, subject to regulatory approval, and will have managerial responsibility and oversight of the bank’s businesses in Europe with reporting lines from the country heads of Spain, Britain, Portugal and Poland,” Santander said in a statement.

Simoes, 45, who is from Portugal, will become a member of the Santander’s group management committee and report to the group’s chief executive officer, José Antonio Alvarez.

Before joining HSBC, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company in their London office and worked also at Goldman Sachs (GS.N).

Santander, which created its tri-regional organisational structure last year, is focusing on emerging economies while cutting costs to counter a margin squeeze from ultra-low interest rates in mature European markets.

Sergio Rial, Santander Brazil’s CEO, and Hector Grisi, Santander Mexico’s CEO, lead the South American and North American operations respectively, with the bank’s country heads acting as the primary group representatives in each market across all regions.

The bank’s aim is to achieve 1 billion euros in cost savings in the medium term in Europe out of the 1.2 billion euros target it set globally.

The bank’s European businesses serve 9.9 million customers and 14.2 million digital customers, with around 70,000 employees and 4,900 branches.

Reporting By Jesús Aguado, editing by Andrei Khalip and Jane Merriman

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