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Lloyds poach Santander boss
04 November 2010 @ 11:27

LLOYDS has poached the boss of rival Santander for the biggest job in British banking with a package worth up to £30million over five years.

The bank, 40% owned by taxpayers, will also pay Antonio Horta-Osorio compensation for bonuses he’ll miss out on by leaving Santander.

Despite this, Lloyds’ chairman Sir Win Bischoff insisted their man would be taking a “substantial pay-cut”.

News he will replace American Eric Daniels as Lloyds’ chief executive next March helped add more than £1bn to the bank’s share price yesterday.

But the arrival of a man who lists swimming with sharks amongst his hobbies will do little to ease the fears of workers who have already seen 22,000 jobs axed since Lloyds ill-fated merger with HBoS.

The 46-year-old is known as a cost-cutter, axing 10,000 staff since the Spanish bank’s Abbey takeover.

His appointment may be a mixed bag for customers. Santander has led the market with new products but has a poor reputation for service.

For his part, Horta-Osorio said it has been a tough decision “emotionally” to leave Santander after 20 years.

But he said: “This is a huge challenge. It is probably the only bank in Europe that would have made me consider leaving Santander.”

City veteran David Buik, of BGC Partners, hailed the appointment as a “great coup” for Lloyds but admitted he was shocked.

“I never gave him a passing thought – I thought he was wedded to Santander. I thought he was like Brighton Rock. Chop him in half and you read ‘Santander’ written in red.”

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