Shares in the euro zone's biggest bank fall after the death of its Chairman. Emilio Botin transformed Santander from a small domestic lender. Joanna Partridge looks at the impact his death will have.
Leaving behind a banking legacy. Emilio Botin, the chairman of Spanish lender Santander, has died of a heart attack aged 79. Seen here in 2012, Botin was one of Spain's most powerful men and turned a small domestic lender into the euro zone's biggest bank. The news surprised Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. He said Botin looked well during a meeting a few days earlier. SOUNDBITE: SPANISH PRIME MINISTER MARIANO RAJOY, SAYING (Spanish): "Botin was a man who managed to make Santander the most important bank in our country. He was a great ambassador for Spain's brand. The bank has a presence in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Poland, Mexico and elsewhere." Botin first shook up Spanish banking in 1989 with a campaign to attract depositors, forcing his rivals to compete on price. An acquisition just five years later made Santander Spain's biggest bank. Rapid expansion in Latin America and beyond soon followed. While the bank's seen some controversy, Santander emerged relatively unscathed from the financial crisis. Partly thanks to taking over Dutch bank ABN AMRO's healthier Brazilian arm just before the crisis. It also avoided falling victim to Spain's long-running recession, as it only makes about 14% of its profit at home. Botin's death put pressure on Santander's shares. Michael Hewson is from CMC Markets. SOUNDBITE: Michael Hewson, Markets analyst, CMC Markets, saying (English): "I think the key now really is to put the succession plan into place because every decent organisation should have one, and give a clear indication of continuity at the top." Analysts have long expected Botin's eldest daughter, Ana, to take over. She currently heads Santander's British business. But banking dynasties have recently come in for criticism after a scandal at Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo, where the founding family's holdings are being investigated over financial irregularities. George Hay is from Reuters Breakingviews. SOUNDBITE: George Hay, Reuters Breakingviews, saying (English): "They probably are going to appoint Ana his daughter to either the chief executive or chairman position. The big question is whether they just appoint her as a carbon copy of her father, to be executive chairman and to do both roles, which would indicate they're not really moving with the times." Flags flew at half-mast at Santander's headquarters - more evidence Botin will be a hard act to follow.