Romana Resigns As Chairwoman Of Sareb And Is Replaced By Echegoyen

27 January 2015 – Expansión

The Chairwoman of Sareb (the so-called ‘bad bank’), Belén Romana, voluntarily resigned from her post on Monday and the number two at the company, Jaime Echegoyen, the current CEO, has taken over as the Chairman of the entity.

Echegoyen was appointed on Monday by unanimous vote at an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Directors.

The Board considers that Echegoyen “is the right person to lead Sareb through this new phase, given his capacity for leadership, his experience and his professional and human qualities”.

Meanwhile, the body said that it regrets the personal decision taken by Belén Romana and highlighted the excellent job she has done as the head of the company. “Without her dedication, vision and leadership, it is hard to imagine how a few simple paragraphs in the BOE would have been transformed into the robust business reality that Sareb has become today”, it said.

The company recalls that in the two years since its creation, Sareb has fulfilled the initial objectives that the Chairwoman set out and has contributed “significantly” to the restructuring of the financial sector, the reactivation of the real estate market and the change in perceptions of international investors about the Spanish economy.

“Sareb has evolved from being a project agreed with the international authorities in the context of the clean-up of the banking sector, to become a fully operational company, which has generated turnover of almost €9,000 million during the period”, it added.

Furthermore, since Romana has been in office, Sareb has sold nearly 24,000 properties and has repaid 11% of its initial debt. “All of this has resulted in a saving of €7,400 million for taxpayers”, highlights the note.

New phase

Sareb will now be led by Echegoyen and “will collaborate with professional service-minded managing agents that have a strong alignment with the company’s interests. All of this will allow it to take full advantage of the incipient recovery in the Spanish real estate sector”, the company explained in a statement.

The new Chairman also thanked the board for the confidence it has placed in him: “I am fully committed to the new responsibilities I am taking on and am convinced that Sareb will continue to fulfil its mandate, as it has been doing to date”, he said.

Echegoyen, who has extensive experience in the financial sector, was appointed CEO of Sareb in February 2014. Under his leadership, the company has adopted a new organisational structure and has chosen new operators to manage its portfolio over the next few years. Before joining Sareb, he was CEO of Bankinter and Head of Barclays in Spain and Portugal.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake