Rami Abu Khair (Granada, 54 years old), left Santander after two decades in the entity. Abu Khair, from a Malaga mother and a Syrian father who came to Spain to study medicine, as this manager usually said, was currently responsible for digital and card solutions for the Santander Group, a position he reached in April 2021, when he stopped working. To be the first CEO of Santander in Spain. He has been leading the Spanish band, one of the main elements of the group, since 2015, when he arrived in the place of Enrique Garcia Candelas.
His task was not entirely easy, as the Spanish financial sector experienced a storm encouraged by pressure on profitability due to negative rates, increased regulation, economic crisis and Banco Popular integration. The entity was purchased for €1 in 2017, in a process that was more expensive than expected, with a complex and lengthy integration, which caused Santander to lose its commercial power in Spain. Abu Khair, known as Rami, is leaving the bank to undertake new personal projects, according to the entity, which confirmed the information it provided. Hispanidad.
From Banesto to London and back to Madrid
Abu Khair has long been the confidant of President Anna Putin, with whom he began working in Banisteau and with whom he accompanied when the banker headed the British branch of Santander in London. Coming from the world of marketing and advertising, Santander signed him up in 2002 to run Banesto and from the Products and Customers department he launched the “123” account, which, through a Visa card, returned money when used to make purchases.
Putin immediately incorporated Abu Khair among his close collaborators who followed him to the UK and launched an improved version of ‘123 there, which later became the flagship product in many markets, including Spain, after its successful launch in the UK. British. However, the entry of interest rates into negative territory in 2016 caused this product to lose profitability, so Santander had to scale back the advantages it had until it became ineffective.
Now, in the Digital Solutions division, his goal was to advance the strategy of standardizing products in different geographies to avoid the current duplication, as each country is creating its own. The project is called One Europe and One Santander, and it is a joint operation and business model to make better use of the group’s scope.
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Santander’s new structure
Abu Khair was replaced last year by Antonio Simويسes, of HSBC, who took the dual position as regional head of Europe at Santander and chief executive in Spain. Anna Putin has made it clear on occasions that she concentrates the leadership of the three major regions (Europe, North America and South America) so that the head of each region is the one who runs the most important state in their region. Thus, Simões acquired Spain, coordinating the CEOs of Portugal, Poland and the United Kingdom. Simões, as those responsible for North America and South America report to the group’s CEO, José Antonio Alvarez.