Emilio Botin, the chairman of Santander, has died at the age of 79. Botin was the motive force behind the company’s massive involvement in F1 and his death may mean some serious changes in the years ahead, particularly if his replacements do not share his belief that F1 is good for a business. It is anticipated that his daughter Ana Botin will replace him.
Botin was born into banking. His grandfather Emilio Botín y López, was the first Santander chairman in 1920. His father Emilio Botín Sanz de Sautuola y López took over in 1950 and he in turn took over from his father as bank chairman in 1986, although he joined the board as early as 1960, after he had completed his studies in law and economics. He became the CEO of the bank in 1967 and CEO in the 1970s. Under his leadership, Santander grew by acquisition, buying a string of banks around the world in the 1990s and 2000s. The group now has a market capitalisation of nearly $120 billion. Along the way he was able to build up his personal wealth to around $1 billion. He used F1, and particularly the association with Fernando Alonso to build up the bank’s branding.