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