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Santander US Names Wennes as CEO, Makes Other Exec Changes

December 03, 2019, 08:55 AM
Related: Santander

The Boards of Directors of Santander Holdings USA, Inc. (Santander US) and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (SC) announced several executive changes.

Timothy Wennes has been named Santander US CEO and Country Head, effective immediately. Wennes succeeds Scott Powell, who has left the company to pursue an outside opportunity. Wells Fargo & Co. separately announced Powell has joined the company as its new Chief Operating Officer.

Wennes joined Santander in September as CEO of Santander Bank, N.A. (SBNA) – a role he retains in addition to his new appointment. He was also named to the Santander US Board of Directors. In his expanded role, Wennes will have responsibility for all U.S. operations of Banco Santander, executing long-range plans and growth strategies, and successfully completing the company's regulatory remediation. Wennes brings significant banking experience to the role, joining Santander from MUFG Union Bank, N.A.
Mahesh Aditya has been named SC CEO, succeeding Powell in his CEO role there. Aditya has served as Santander US Chief Risk Officer since May 2018. He joined Santander US in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. Aditya has deep consumer finance experience, and has held executive management positions in risk management and oversight for Visa, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One.
Sarah Drwal has been appointed Santander US and SBNA Chief Risk Officer, succeeding Aditya, bringing more than 20 years of experience to the role. Drwal has served as EVP – Head of Enterprise Risk Management for Santander US since 2017 and as CRO for SBNA Consumer and Business Banking since 2016. Prior to joining Santander, Drwal served in executive leadership roles in risk, fraud, governance and strategy for JPMorgan Chase and Capital One, and began her career at Experian.

Juan Carlos "JC" Alvarez, Santander US and SBNA CFO, has been named to the SC Board of Directors. A highly experienced finance professional, Alvarez joined Santander in 1996 and has held roles with increasing responsibility, including serving as CFO for SC from 2017 to 2019 where he oversaw SC's financial reporting, financial planning and analysis, and accounting functions.

Santander's U.S. business has completed a period of notable transformation in the last four years, making substantial enhancements with respect to board oversight, compliance, risk management, capital planning and liquidity risk management. The company closed two significant written agreements with the Federal Reserve and as a result the Company received a regulatory non-objection for its capital distribution plans in both 2018 and 2019, allowing it to return a dividend in 2018 for the first time since 2011. It has also made significant lending and other commitments to the communities in which it operates, and in 2018 achieved an upgrade to its Community Reinvestment Act rating.

Santander's U.S. strategy remains focused on seizing organic growth opportunities and completing its regulatory remediation initiatives while further integrating operations and support functions to improve efficiency. In addition, Santander US will continue to leverage the strength of the Santander Group while investing in improving the customer experience through both digital and physical channels. In the medium-term the Group aims to grow the return on tangible equity in the U.S. from 6 percent to 11-13 percent.

Banco Santander Executive Chairman Ana Botin, who recently joined the Santander US and SBNA boards, said: "Tim and Mahesh have proven themselves to be excellent leaders with tremendous expertise and talent. We see significant opportunity for growth in the U.S. market and I am proud that we have internal successors who are so well prepared to lead this next stage of our strategy, and I look forward to working with them even more closely in the years ahead. In the past four years we have made outstanding progress in addressing the legacy regulatory issues and laying the foundation for future growth, and on behalf of the Board and the Group, I want to extend our thanks to Scott and wish him all the best for this next stage of his career."

SHUSA and SBNA Boards Chairman Tim Ryan said, "The leadership team and employees of Santander US have moved our US businesses forward in operating at large financial institution standards, and this work will continue with the leadership appointments we announce today. Santander US is fortunate to have a deep, strong management team, and we will carry on our work of meeting our regulatory goals and improving customer satisfaction in all our businesses."

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