Santander chairman Emilio Botin has died aged 79, the bank has announced.
The BBC reports Botin died of a heart attack last night. The board and the appointments remuneration committee are meeting today to appoint a new chairman.
The BBC says Botin is credited with turning what was a small regional bank in Spain into a banking giant.
Shares in the bank fell 1.6 per cent on the news, to 609p a share.