Banco Santander Puerto Rico announced Tuesday the appointment of Román Blanco, who less than a year ago took over the reins of the island’s operations, as CEO of Santander Holdings USA and Sovereign Bank.
In his place, the Spanish bank has named Fredy Molfino as president and CEO, as well as a member of the board. Molfino will assume his duties as CEO “as soon as all the legal and regulatory requirements are met,” the bank said.
Blanco, who was took over as head of the Puerto Rico operation in July 2012 — but made his first public appearance in September of that year — was responsible for establishing the bank’s “100×35” strategic plan, which sought to create value for customers, employees, shareholders and the community in Puerto Rico.
The plan’s goal is to have $100MM in net income in a three year period with focus on five key business areas: high net worth and middle income clients, consumer banking, business banking, wealth management and insurance.
Blanco will provide continued oversight to the execution of the strategic plan as Santander Puerto Rico is now part of the Santander U.S. governance structure, the bank said in a statement. He will remain on the boards of Santander BanCorp and Banco Santander Puerto Rico.
“It’s an enormous privilege to lead the Santander team in the United States. We’re committed to grow the Santander franchise in Puerto Rico,” Blanco said. “We’re in an excellent position to help the Puerto Rican community and accompany the island in its economic development, well being and prosperity because we are the single most solid financial institution in Puerto Rico to do so.”
Fredy Molfino, who has an MBA in Economics, has more than 16 years of experience with Grupo Santander in different functions and countries. In the last four years he has held different positions in Santander Puerto Rico, most recently as general director and member of the board of Santander Financial Services Inc. (operating as Island Finance).
“[Fredy] Molfino will provide continuity, together with the team, to the priorities established in our strategic plan to grow our customer base with our collaborators and quality of service and compliance in our community,” Blanco said. “I feel at home in Puerto Rico and the island will continue to be my home.”
The bank did not reveal how quickly Molfino could move to his new position.