By Kimio Kase
This publication analyzes rapidly-growing world-class Spanish retail banks. It argues that their good fortune is because of very good administration, clear-headed CEOs, the presence of a cluster of like-minded executives who supplement one another and create a homogenous process trend, and that IT platforms and the regulatory atmosphere have contributed greatly.
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Extra info for CEOs as Leaders and Strategy Designers: Explaining the Success of Spanish Banks
With Banesto under its control, Santander now came close to BBV in size, and what was more, it was able to retain Sáenz (later to become Santander’s CEO) and the best part of his team. This concentration process of big banks came to an end in January 1999 when Santander announced its merger with Central Hispano, and became the largest Spanish bank. Amusátegui and Corcóstegui, both originally from Central Hispano, were dismissed and Emilio Botín took over the reigns. A few months later, feeling the pressure from the new super-sized Santander, BBV merged with Argentaria to form BBVA.
4 shows the dramatic changes that took place over the next five years. The scale of this figure has been adjusted to allow for a threefold increase in the values shown. By January 1999, Santander had doubled its size and was the largest bank, pushing BBVA down to the second place. BBV had increased its market value seven times, and was the bank best valued by the market, after BCH, which had experienced a positive upturn since its difficult situation five years previously. Popular was left somewhat behind by a bourgeoning stock market that seemed to punish its strategy focused on profits and organic growth, ruling out any significant acquisition.
At European level we have advanced steadily in setting the right priorities but Member States have not demonstrated enough ‘ownership’. For 2004 we set three priorities: more investment in networks and knowledge, the reinforcement of 38 CEOs as Leaders and Strategy Designers industrial competitiveness and more measures to increase labour market participation. We ask governments to react on all three fronts swiftly. We have to take advantage of the economic recovery in order to make up lost ground.