A court in Madrid ruled on Friday, December 10, that Banco Santander de España must pay 68 million euros (about 76 million US dollars) to Italian banker Andrea Orsel to retract its offer to appoint him as CEO of the financial institution.
During her court appearance, the bank’s president, Ana Botín, insisted that Orcel had never signed a binding contract with Santander.
In 2018, Banco Santander announced that Orcel, one of the main bankers at the Swiss investment entity UBS, would become the CEO of Santander in 2019.
However, after arduous negotiations over his compensation, Santander issued an ultimatum that Urcel was not willing to accept. From there he unleashed one of the most prominent legal battles in the European financial system.
The Madrid court confirmed that his contract was “valid” and that Santander had “unilaterally and unjustified” canceled it.
Now, Santander will have to pay Orcel a signing bonus of €17 million (about US$19 million), €35 million (US$39 million) for long-term incentives, €5.8 million (about US$6.54 million) for two years’ salary, and 10 million euros (about 11.3 US dollars) in compensation for moral and reputational damages, as well as legal fees.
Santander representatives confirmed to Spanish media that they would appeal the case.
After leaving UBS and the disaster with Santander, Orcel became CEO of Italian banking group UniCredit in 2021.
* Translated by Daniel Gallego.
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