San­tander set to ap­point Or­cel’s right-hand man as UK chair­man

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

SAN­TANDER is tipped to hire a former lieu­tenant of star banker An­drea Or­cel, not long af­ter spurn­ing him as chief ex­ec­u­tive.

The bank is ex­pected to name Wil­liam Vereker as its new UK chair­man. Mr Vereker was pre­vi­ously de­scribed as Mr Or­cel’s “right-hand man” at Swiss bank UBS be­fore the pair al­legedly fell out.

Mr Vereker’s po­ten­tial move to San­tander comes just over a year af­ter it ditched plans to hire Mr Or­cel be­cause he was too ex­pen­sive. The

Span­ish-head­quar­tered lender is said to have ini­tially pro­posed a €52m (£48m) sign­ing-on deal for Mr Or­cel be­fore back­ing out due to fears of a po­lit­i­cal back­lash.

An in­vest­ment bank­ing vet­eran who served as former prime min­is­ter Theresa May’s busi­ness en­voy, Mr Vereker was hired by JP Mor­gan in Jan­uary as one of its chief rain­mak­ers in Europe.

How­ever, sources have told the Fi­nan­cial Times that he is now ex­pected to join San­tander af­ter win­ning ap­proval from reg­u­la­tors and the Cab­i­net Of­fice. Mr Vereker would re­place San­tander

UK chair­man Baroness Shriti Vadera, the City grandee who was a min­is­ter un­der Gor­don Brown and like Mr Vereker has pre­vi­ously held se­nior roles at UBS.

She is leav­ing later this year to be­come the first fe­male chair­man of in­surer Pru­den­tial. San­tander’s de­ci­sion to back­track over Mr Or­cel raised eye­brows across the fi­nance in­dus­try be­cause banks fre­quently have to buy new hires out of their long-term com­pen­sa­tion schemes and should be adept at work­ing out what that would cost.

The lender, which has 600 UK branches, an­nounced the high-pro­file hire late in 2018 but in Jan­uary last year said it had de­cided not to pro­ceed with the ap­point­ment. It now faces a €100m law­suit from Mr Or­cel.

JP Mor­gan and San­tander de­clined to com­ment.

Wil­liam Vereker served as former prime min­is­ter Theresa May’s busi­ness en­voy in 2018 and 2019

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