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Capital Markets, Financial

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Categorized | Banks

Spanish banking veteran resigns

Posted on June 30, 2014


Winning formula: CaixaBank has distanced itself from its weaker rivals

Juan María Nin, one of Spain’s most experienced bankers, has resigned from his posts as chief executive and deputy chairman of Caixabank, the Barcelona-based financial group.

Mr Nin served as the right-hand man to Isidro Fainé, Caixabank’s chairman, and played a key role in steering the lender through Spain’s recent financial crisis and pushing through Caixabank’s listing in 2011.

    His roles will now be split between two people, with Gonzalo Gortázar taking over as Caixabank chief executive and Antonio Massanell appointed as new deputy chairman. Both men previously served as director generals at Caixabank. Mr Gortázar spent 16 years at Morgan Stanley in London and Madrid before joining the Catalan bank.

    Mr Fainé praised the outgoing chief executive for his “hugely positive” contribution to the bank. Mr Nin will continue to represent his former employer’s interests as a board member of Gas Natural, Repsol and Erste Bank.

    Caixabank did not give a reason for the departure, or explain the timing of the switch. However, it said the change had been made by mutual accord with Mr Nin, and pointed out that it came after the completion of a sweeping reorganisation of Caixabank and the La Caixa foundation that controls the lender.

    The new structure is designed to create a clearer separation between the two entities, and formalises Caixabank’s transition from a regional savings bank to a normal commercial lender. The reorganisation was prompted by a change in the Spanish law, and followed the broader backlash against Spain’s regional savings bank model. Also known as cajas, regional lenders with deep political connections such as Bankia played a starring role in the 2012 financial meltdown that pushed Madrid into an EU-funded banking bailout.

    Caixabank itself did not require any public funds during the banking crisis, and instead went on to buy several troubled savings bank in an attempt to expand its network.