The death of Santander Chairman Emilio Botín triggered a cascade of statements from Spanish politicians and his fellow bankers on Wednesday.
The news spread like wildfire through Congress, where deputies, ministers and top executive officials were getting ready for a routine government control session.
“Emilio Botín was a great ambassador for the Spain brand,” said Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, underscoring the banker’s international profile. “The bank he presided is the most important in our country, and I trust that following his passing things will be sorted out in the best possible way to ensure that this leadership remains intact.”
Rajoy’s deputy, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, said that Spain had lost one of its most important financiers, a man who had “a commitment to his country.”
Botín brought Santander “into the Champions League of the global banking system”
The opposition leader, Socialist secretary general Pedro Sánchez, expressed his “sadness” and offered condolences to the family.
In Catalonia, regional government spokesman Francesc Homs described Botín as “the great banker of Spain and of much of the world” and said he had brought Banco Santander “into the Champions League of the global banking system.”
Minister for Education, Culture and Sports José Ignacio Wert also underscored Botín’s international activities. “He was able to transform a local bank into one of the world’s leading financial groups, with a particularly strong presence in the Ibero-American community,” he said.
Francisco González, chairman of Spain’s other major bank, BBVA, expressed his condolences upon hearing of the death: “We mourn his loss and join his family and Santander Group in grief at this time.”