Sabadell completes the replacement of Guardiola by González Bueno in the middle of the dance of bank mergers

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Banco Sabadell finalizes the replacement of its CEO, Jaime Guardiola, by the former head of ING in Spain, César González Bueno. The 63-year-old Guardiola’s dismissal comes in the midst of the financial sector stock market crisis and after the group’s merger project with BBVA was suspended.

Financial sources explain that the move was planned since González Bueno joined last March as a director of TSB, the British subsidiary of the Catalan bank. A Sabadell spokesman declined to comment on the information, released by Bloomberg.

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The exit represents a shift of power in the management of the group in the middle of the dance of bank mergers. Guardiola had become one of the industry’s oldest senior executives after serving as CEO for the past 13 years.

For his part, González Bueno will assume the executive management of the group with the aim of stopping its collapse in the Stock Market and completing the internal and external processes that reinforce the solvency of the group in the face of the consequences that the coronavirus crisis will have on its balance sheet.

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This 60-year-old executive has been the top leader of ING in Spain during two different stages and was also the chief executive of Novagalicia Banco and the Gulf Bank of Kuwait.

Guardiola’s departure coincides with the ERE approved by the bank to reduce its workforce by 1,800 people in the first quarter of 2021 and the imminent announcement of a new strategic plan in the first quarter of the year.

In his 13 years as CEO, Guardiola has had to weather two economic crises that have significantly reduced the value of the bank, in particular, and the financial sector in general.

The bank’s shares have lost 92% of their value in this period, above the 76% that the European banking index has fallen. In 2007, the bank’s profit was 782 million, a figure similar to that at the end of 2019, before Sabadell suffered the strong impact of the coronavirus on its income statement. Its assets, however, have tripled to $ 223 billion.

Guardiola can boast of leaving Sabadell as the fourth largest bank in the country -when he took office it was the seventh- and having tried, although without success, its international expansion in the United Kingdom and Mexico. Indeed, one of the first movements that González Bueno will sign will be the sale of TSB after having failed in his attempt to turn it into a profitable bank.

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