Santander hires technologist trio to lead digital transformation

Santander Group has appointed three leading technologists to lead its €20 billion digital transformation and technology strategy.

The Spanish banking giant has made the senior hires as it builds out its digital capabilities and the Santander Global Platform. The move comes weeks after the bank announced plans to hire 3,000 staff in IT roles worldwide in the coming year.

R. Martin Chávez, a former veteran of Goldman Sachs, will join the board of Banco Santander as independent director, subject to regulatory approval.

He retired from Goldman Sachs in 2019 following a 20 year career at the investment bank. He began his career as a software engineer and founded a number of technology companies in Silicon Valley and New York, adding further to the board’s digital expertise.

Chávez will also join the remuneration committee; risk supervision, regulation and compliance committee; and innovation and technology committee.

Sebastian Gunningham will be appointed chairman of Santander Consumer Finance and vice chairman of Openbank, subject to regulatory approval, and will become a senior advisor to the Santander group chairman on technology.

He held a number of senior leadership roles with Amazon as senior vice president, being responsible for the Amazon Marketplace and multiple other technology groups, including overseeing Amazon’s global payments services. During his career, he has also worked at Apple, First Data, Oracle and WeWork.

Gunningham will succeed Antonio Escámez as chairman of Santander Consumer Finance and vice chairman of Openbank. Escámez will remain a member of both boards.

Francisco D’Souza, a co-founder and former chief executive of professional services company Cognizant, who has been a member of Santander’s international advisory panel since 2016, will become the group strategic advisor for the development of Santander Global Platform.

Ana Botín, Banco Santander’s group executive chairman, said: “Marty, Sebastian and Frank bring extensive experience and will add significant value to the group as we develop and execute our digital transformation.

“They have each had outstanding careers and I look forward to working together as we progress in developing our strategy to be the best open financial services platform.”

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