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Banco Santander ordered to pay banker €68 million just months after big staff cuts and branch closures in Spain

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A Madrid court has ordered Banco Santander to pay €68 million to Italian banker Andrea Orcel for reneging on an offer to make him CEO in 2019.

The bank announced cuts of over €1 billion in October 2020 across its European operation.

The payout to Orcel follows 3,572 job losses in Spain and the closing of 1,033 Santander branches.

The ruling from Judge Javier Sanchez Beltran comes after Santander president, Ana Botin, testified that Orcel never signed a binding contract.

Santander announced in 2018 that Orcel, who worked for the Swiss UBS bank, would join the entity the following year.

Matters became drawn-out in protracted negotiations over his compensation package and the Spanish bank backed away, leading to the start of a legal battle.

Judge Sanchez Beltran said Orcel’s contract was ‘valid’ and added that it was ‘unilaterally and unjustifiably’ cancelled by Santander, who say they will appeal the ruling.

The payout to the Italian includes his €17 million signing bonus and €35 million for long-term incentives.

He will also be paid interest and Santander will have to cover his legal costs.

Orcel is now gainfully employed as CEO of Italy’s largest bank, Unicredit.

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