Santander has reportedly been hit with a €100m (£90m) legal challenge from former UBS investment banker Andrea Orcel, who was denied the role of chief executive just four months after being offered the post.
It is understood that Orcel is filing a lawsuit in Madrid, claiming the Spanish banking giant violated a contract between the two sides, with sources familiar with the matter telling Reuters that Santander will have 20 days to respond.
The former investment banker is demanding he is given back his role as Santander chief executive or is paid damages amounting to roughly €100m.
There has been a high-profile battle taking place between the two sides, with this being the latest move. The battle erupted after Santander announced it was ditching plans to hire Orcel in January, after being named to the post in September, having left UBS to take a required six-month leave before taking on his next challenge.
However, a disagreement over Orcel’s remuneration package resulted in Santander retracting its offer several months later, raising questions surrounding the Spanish bank’s hiring process.
Commenting on the decision to withdraw Orcel’s offer in January, Santander executive chairman of the board Ana Botin said: “Santander is a retail and commercial bank with significant responsibilities to the societies in which it operates.
“In making this decision we have had to balance the respect we have for all of our stakeholders - the millions of people, customers and shareholders we serve - with the very significant cost of hiring one individual, even one as talented as Andrea, by compensating for the loss of a significant proportion of seven years of his past remuneration.
“The Board and I are certain that this decision, although difficult to take, is the right one.”
Since then, the former UBS investment banker has reportedly rejected an advisory role at Santander.
Both Santander and Orcel’s representatives, Decarlos Remon, declined to comment.
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