Banking skills, not name, key to Ana Botin's success at Santander
* Ana Botin's appointment initially well received
* Seen following her father's strategy at the bank
* Will have to prove herself over European, U.S. growth
By Jesús Aguado and Julien Toyer
MADRID, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Ana Botin's appointment at the head of Santander signals a continuity in strategy at the bank that has pleased analysts and investors, with banking sources expecting her to prove herself by growing the lender through acquisitions and modernising it.
The euro zone's biggest bank named Ana Botin as its new head on Wednesday hours after her father Emilio's sudden death, continuing the family's century-old rule of the Spanish bank despite owning today no more than 2 percent of its shares.
Although major international funds which hold stakes in the bank have in the past showed reluctance to accept the Botins' control, none of them has yet spoken out.
Shares in the lender closed down around 0.6 percent on Thursday, underperforming peers and Spain's main index Ibex , although they are still up 25.6 percent year-to-date.
A senior source at Santander told Reuters the transition had been well prepared and contacts with investors took place over the last months. Continuación...