The spotlight on: Ana Botin, chief executive of Santander UK

Who is she?

Ana Patricia Botin-Sanz de Sautuola O'Shea (to give her her full, impressive name) has been chief executive of Santander UK since December 2010. She was parachuted in from Spain to take over when Antonio Horta-Osorio suddenly quit to run Lloyds Banking Group.

How did she get the job?

She is the daughter ofEmilio Botin, the Spanish billionaire who is executive chairman of Grupo Santander. Her mother is Paloma O'Shea, First Marquise of O'Shea, whom she is expected to succeed in her title. Educated in the United States, Ana Patricia first worked for JP Morgan for seven years before coming home to the family bank.

Why is she in the news?

Santander – the former Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley building societies – kicked of the banking season yesterday with a 6 per cent fall in trading profits to £1.5bn in 2011. It was also rocked by a £538m charge to compensate people who had been mis-sold payment protection insurance.

What's she say?

"2012 is likely to be a tough year for the UK banking industry. Economic prospects have deteriorated markedly even in recent months, whilst increased regulatory burdens and funding costs will impact the results further."

What's she got to do?

Basically, she has to grow Santander's business banking arm in the UK. She also has to improve its ranking in consumer surveys, where it regularly comes low down the list for customer satisfaction. Eventually, she must have Santander in shape for its own stock market flotation, which could value it at £20bn.

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