Grupo Santander chief financial officer Francesco Gomez-Roldan is set to replace Luqman Arnold as chief executive of Abbey once the acquisition is approved by the FSA.
The appointment of Gomez-Roldan is expected to take effect from November 15 subject to FSA approval on November 12. Arnold will continue to work with Santander as a senior adviser on general issues while Lord Terry Burns will stay as chairman of the Abbey board of directors. Arnold has been Abbey chief executive since 2002.
Arnold's departure has met with mixed reaction from IFAs, who say he had started to turn Abbey round but it is still not seen as IFA-friendly.
Abbey is withdrawing its Flexible Plus Tracker, Deal for Life and Reward mortgage products before M-Day due to complications with IT systems.
One of Grupo Santander's objectives is to improve technology and rationalise back-office operations.
Abbey head of media relations Christina Mills says: “The appointment was fully endorsed by Luqman Arnold and Terry Burns, who agree someone is needed on the ground who understands the direction of the new group.”
Chadney Bulgin partner Tom Chadney says: “As far as we are concerned, Abbey had disappeared from the radar as an IFA friend. Arnold had begun to successfully repair the relationship with IFAs. We will have to wait and see if the new chief executive can continue this relationship.”
Hamptons International Mortgages adviser Jonathan Cornell says: “Arnold tried to build Abbey for Intermediaries into a proposition. It would be a shame if all this work is lost.”