The Sareb Board of Directors approves the appointment of Leopoldo Puig as CEO

The Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting of the Management Company for Assets Arising from the Banking Sector Reorganisation (Sareb) has today approved the appointment of Leopoldo Puig to the Board of Directors, and subsequently to the position of Company CEO.

The Board also approved Sareb’s new management structure – consistent with governance best practices – via which Javier Torres will become the Company’s non-executive Chairman, with both him and Leopoldo reporting directly to the Board of Directors.

Javier Torres will continue to chair the Board and head up the Company’s institutional sales, with a view to guaranteeing the smooth running of the governance bodies, strengthening its institutional capacity and guaranteeing collaborative agreements with public authorities via Sareb’s commitment to offering affordable and social housing. Javier will be responsible for the General Secretary’s Office – which includes the Legal Department, Regulatory Compliance, Internal Control and Security – the Communications Department and will work closely with the Auditing team which reports to the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee.

Incoming CEO Leopoldo Puig had up until now held the role of Corporate and Finance Director. He is currently on leave from his position as an inspector at the Bank of Spain, joining Sareb from the FROB in 2020. Over the course of the last two years, Leopoldo has steered the implementation of a new management control model focused on efficiency and cost savings and has worked on adapting the Company’s structure to its current business strategy – aimed at non-institutional property sales. He has also worked on generating value for the portfolio by introducing activities such as real estate development.

For Sareb Chairman Javier Torres, “the appointment of Leopoldo Puig is key for overcoming the challenges that lie ahead in this next phase, one in which the Company must continue to successfully deliver on its financial mandate to maximise its capacity to pay down its government-backed loans. All while making an ever-stronger commitment to the sustainable management of our portfolio and introducing measures that champion affordable and social housing and allow us to maximise the social performance of Sareb’s property portfolio”.

Javier García del Río’s time at Sareb will draw to a close over the coming days, after having worked with the company to ensure a smooth transition – a request issued by the Board of Directors upon receiving Javier’s voluntary resignation on 5 April. The Board has expressed its thanks to Javier for his “incredible dedication and commitment” during his time as Sareb CEO.

The Meeting also announced its approval of the appointment of Carmen Allo as an independent board member and Julián Navarro as a proprietary director representing FROB, the Spanish Executive Resolution Authority (formerly known as Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring). These last two appointments complete the reshuffle of the Company’s Board, which is now formed of nine board members – three of these independent.

The Meeting also approved the 2021 Annual Accounts and Management Report.

New members of the Management Committee

Marisa García Camarero and Ana Aranguez, who up until now held the positions of General Secretary and Director of Portfolio Management respectively have both submitted their voluntary resignation, a decision taken by both for personal reasons. As such, Sareb has appointed Jorge Pipaón and Lucía Graña as new directors of the General Secretary’s Office and the area of Portfolio Management, respectively. The Company has also authorised the appointment of Jose Maria Arroyo as new Corporate and Finance Director, replacing outgoing Leopoldo Puig. The new directors will form part of the Company’s Management Committee.

Jorge Pipaón, whose role will include acting as Secretary to Sareb’s Board of Directors, is a public prosecutor with almost 20 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Since 2019 he had held the position of Chairman and Administrator of Cofivacasa, a publicly-owned company whose primary objective is the liquidation of companies and the administration of assets. He has also been a Partner in Public Law, working for the Toda & Nel-lo Abogados law firm and the General Technical Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance, and also worked as a public prosecutor in the Ministry of Economy and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) among others.

Lucía Graña holds a degree in Economics from the Universidad CEU San Pablo and completed a Management Development Programme at IESE Business School. Having worked for over 15 years in the finance and real estate sectors, Lucía joined Sareb in 2013, where she has held a variety of roles relating to finance and financial assets. In 2020 she was appointed Director of Management Control and several months ago started to act as deputy director of Portfolio Management. Before joining Sareb, she held a number of different management positions at Banco Popular and Banco Pastor.

José María Arroyo is currently on leave from his position as an inspector at the Bank of Spain and boasts more than 25 years’ experience in both public and private sectors. Over the course of the last nine years, he has held different positions in Grupo Santander, including Head of Internal Model Validation. Prior to this, he held a number of roles at the Bank of Spain in areas relating to the inspection of credit institutions.