The death of Banco Santander Chairman Emilio Botin at age 79 yesterday prompted a flood of admiration from executives who dominate an industry known for cutthroat competition. Top bankers from New York to Zurich praised Botin and his influence on global banking since he became chairman in 1986. His daughter Ana Patricia Botin was named today to take his place.
"I remember him as a real quality, thoughtful person, a very proud man and proud of what he had put together. He was very steady and very thoughtful, and he was always willing to listen. I mean I really loved him." Sandy Weill, former chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup.
"Emilio Botin was an exceptional man and an outstanding leader. He was a mentor to me, and I will miss him." Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
"Over the years, I have admired and respected his extraordinary achievements at Banco Santander. His example as a visionary and financial statesman will set the standard for many years to come." Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs.
"Emilio was a visionary in modern banking and a dear friend to me." Anshu Jain, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank.
"We will remember him for his energy, his sharp mind and good heart." Sergio Ermotti, CEO of UBS.
"Botin was an extraordinary person who leaves a strong bank, a leader in Europe and national champion." Carlo Messina, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's second- largest bank.
"Through his long and fruitful professional trajectory, he showed amazing intuition, supported by wide experience and preparation to be always at the vanguard of international financial moves." Isidro Faine, chairman of CaixaBank, Spain's third-biggest bank.
"He had a vision for his bank and implemented it with tremendous stamina and vigor. He was a good friend. In difficult times you could rely on him." Josef Ackermann, former CEO of Deutsche Bank.
"In addition to being a brilliant banker and corporate strategist, he was a warm, colorful human being." Robert Diamond, former CEO of Barclays who now leads Atlas Merchant Capital and is co-founder of Atlas Mara Co-Nvest.
"When the books about the financial history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are written, he will be among a handful of the leading bankers of his generation." H. Rodgin Cohen, senior chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, which advised Sovereign Bancorp's board on its 2009 sale to Santander.
Botin "was a unique banker, the best of his generation and the driving force behind the success of the bank." Antonio Horta-Osorio, CEO of Lloyds Banking Group.
"He combined things few people have: strategic genius and courage with enormous attention to detail to day-to-day operations. He was driven by the passion for the brand and the bank, which he felt was his responsibility and obligation." Luqman Arnold, former CEO of Abbey National, the U.K. bank Santander acquired in 2004 in what was then Europe's biggest-ever cross-border merger.
"He was a towering force in the modernization of Spanish and European banking. In that he avoided the pitfalls of others, he really had no peers in Europe." Philip Keevil, the former head of Citigroup's European mergers-and-acquisitions department.