Santander's new chairwoman has promised to defend her father's legacy. As Sonia Legg reports Ana Botin also told shareholders at the euro zone's biggest bank her priorities include maintaining a prudent strategy and dividend policy.
Keeping it in the family isn't always wise but the new Chair at Santander is determind to continue her father's legacy. Ana Botin told shareholders Emilio - who died last week of a heart attack - would be a hard act to follow. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) SANTANDER BANK NEW CHAIRMAN, ANA BOTIN, SAYING: "In almost thirty years as the bank's chairman, he turned Santander into the euro zone's biggest bank and one of the world's top ten banks in stock market capìtalisation. When he started the bank was one of 140. He achieved his goals with a clear vision, prudent risk-taking, a focus on clients and retail banking and an ability to look ahead and take advantage of acquisition opportunities." Botin's control of the bank has been questioned by some of the major international funds which hold stakes in it. But they've kept quiet since Emilio's death. They seem confident the transition has been well prepared for. And Santander's record in recent years is pretty impressive. It hasn't suffered one quarterly loss in the last six years and has paid a generous dividend throughout. Few other international banks can say that. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) SANTANDER BANK NEW CHAIRMAN, ANA BOTIN, SAYING: "Continuing the tradition of success won't be easy, The new competitive and regulatory environment is increasingly demanding. But, there is also a great opportunity and I am confident we will complete all the tasks." Santander has major operations in 10 countries including Britain, Brazil and United States, along with Mexico, Argentina and Poland . It's that diversification that's protected it from Southern Europes's economic downturn. And Botin is reportedly looking to the US and Poland for further growth.