Santander faces 100 million euro claim over withdrawn CEO job offer - sources

FILE PHOTO: Andrea Orcel leaves after attending a UK parliamentary inquiry into Libor interest rates in London January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) - Santander SAN.MC faces a 100 million euro (£90 million) claim by Andrea Orcel, one of Europe's best-known investment bankers, after the Spanish bank offered him the job of chief executive but withdrew it when it could not meet his pay demands.

Santander will have about 20 days to respond to a civil lawsuit which 56-year old Orcel plans to file in Madrid, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Orcel is claiming 100 million euros as part of a civil lawsuit for a breach of contract,” said one of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Santander and Madrid-based law firm Decarlos Remon, which represents the former UBS UBSG.S banker, declined to comment.

The job offer was dropped in January as Santander said it would not meet Orcel’s pay expectations in an unusual u-turn for such a high-level banking appointment.

A source close to Orcel said there was still scope for an out-of-court settlement as the Italian banker was not going to drop his calls on the Spanish bank to fulfil its contract.

Spanish online website El Confidencial, which first reported the news, said the sum included the salary Orcel gave up at UBS and the earnings he would have received from Santander.

Santander offered Orcel a senior advisory role in March in an effort to mend bridges with the former president of UBS’s investment bank, two sources said at the time.

Shares in Santander were slightly underperforming Spain's blue chip index Ibex-35 .IBEX. Santander was up 0.5% compared to a 0.9% rise in the Ibex.

Editing by Paul Day, John O’Donnell, Alexander Smith and Mark Potter