A banker from top to bottom. With more than 35 years in the sector, the Mexican Héctor Grisi Checa (Mexico City, 55 years old) has closely experienced all the latest milestones in global financial history. Today, Banco Santander has announced that it has proposed Grisi as the group’s new CEO, a position that he will take from January 1, 2023. His performance in the Spanish entity, in which he has been a little over six and a half years, made him stand out within the company, which previously appointed him CEO in Mexico and head of the North American region, and has now chosen him as number two replacing José Antonio Álvarez.
Of a Lebanese mother and an Italian father, Grisi was born in the Mexican capital, where he grew up and studied Finance. Always with an international outlook, she completed part of her undergraduate degree in Canada before refining her knowledge of markets with graduate studies at the New York Institute of Finance.
His first investment banking position was at the former Banco Mexicano. Like a baptism of fire, Grisi lived the tequila crisis 1994, the first global financial crisis caused by the devaluation of a local currency, the Mexican peso. A short time later, Grisi participated in the sale of the entity to Santander, a bank that years later would be his home, as well as in the restructuring of some of the largest Mexican companies, as a result of the crisis.
In 1997, Grisi came to the global bank Credit Suisse, where, over 18 years, he rose through the ranks before eventually being named President and CEO in his native country. During this time, he worked between New York and Mexico, seeking to make the bank a highly trusted entity among its clients. His responsibility extended beyond Mexico, also incorporating Central America and the Caribbean. From 2011 to 2014, he was one of the four vice presidents of the Association of Banks of Mexico (ABM), the umbrella organization for banks and financial institutions in Mexico.
He began working at Santander in 2015 as CEO in Mexico, where he achieved, according to a profile provided by the bank, the “highest financial return of all the group’s markets” with a 31% RoTE (return on tangible equity) at the end of the first quarter of 2022. Grisi also boasts “one of the best efficiency ratios in the sector in Mexico”, 44% at the end of the first quarter of this year.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Inside the bank, Grisi is known for having a positive attitude, for being demanding and rigorous. He is a “very familiar” person and a fan of reading who likes to work in a team and foster collaboration. In a recent interview with the Mexican edition of the magazine ForbesGrisi is candid about the consumer banking offer in his country.
“When people prefer the dentist to a branch, you’re in trouble,” he told the magazine in March, “then you have to realize that you have to change, but in the end this is not going to be black or white, no We are going to become 100% digital, we are going to have a 100% digital format, but we have to have an omnichannel service, in which there are people who still like to go to the branch”.
Grisi also said that, for Santander, the Mexican market is one of the most important in the world: “Santander loves the Mexican market, it is a market that we see in the long term.”
“Mr. Grisi is convinced of the importance of corporate social responsibility as a willing obligation that companies have to return to the country a part of what they receive from it,” reads a profile published by his alma mater, the Iberoamerican University. “During his tenure at Santander in Mexico, he has continued to promote the programs and initiatives for which he is well known in favor of universities and education in general, as well as care for the environment and care for vulnerable groups,” adds the profile.
Grisi is also a member of the board of trustees of the Fundación Juconi México, a non-profit organization that works to assist victims of violence and marginalization, according to the organization’s own page.