five minute interview: arancha sánchez, santander

What is the most important attribute of a business leader?

Communication. Leaders must communicate their vision to their teams to get everybody moving in the same direction. Clear, open and effective communication also allows for feedback and new ideas from the front line which can be crucial in getting things right for our colleagues and customers, ensuring we remain truly relevant in the fast paced environment in which we operate.

What is your guiding principle?

To strive for customer-led innovation. By placing the customer at the heart of all of our innovative thinking when creating and improving services and how we operate.

What single action would you take to make business more responsible?

We work in a competitive and saturated market place, new products and technology are being produced daily. It is essential for us to listen to our customers, to put them at the centre of the business and empower them with more choice and control on how they manage their money.

What values are at the core of your business?

Simple, Personal and Fair. These values are core to our business and provide a great compass for everything we do; is it simple? Is it personal? And finally, is it fair? If we can say yes to all three then it is right to proceed.

What is the greatest lesson your life in business has taught you?

To always keep focused on the customer. I have found that the greatest benefits, and customer experiences, come from keeping things simple and focusing our innovations on adding more value in meeting our customer’s needs.


Arancha is head of IT, within the Technology & Operations division. Arancha joined Santander Group in 2004 to launch the Partenon integration programme for the acquisition of Abbey National. Previously she worked for Accenture — where she became partner in 2002 – specialising in transformation programmes within the Financial Services Division, including some for Santander’s expansion in different countries. In 2007 she moved to the UK with her family and became CIO in 2008.

Our mission in IT is to deliver, deliver and deliver and this is what we do with passion every day. On a personal note, I love the country life, a glass of wine and, the best of all, my family. The three things go very well together usually!”