BBVA Plans New Management Revamp as Chairman Pushes Digital Bank

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is preparing its second management reorganization in 14 months as Chairman Francisco Gonzalez streamlines Spain’s second-biggest lender and accelerates its push into digital banking.

Units in Spain, Mexico, the U.S. and Turkey will report directly to Chief Executive Officer Carlos Torres under the new structure, with the remainder under the responsibility of a new Country Monitoring unit headed by Jorge Saenz-Azcunaga, BBVA said in a regulatory filing late Wednesday. The board will consider the changes on Thursday.

BBVA is pushing to offer more products and services online and via mobile phones as Gonzalez predicts few banks will survive competition from technology companies such as Google Inc. or Facebook Inc. The bank is also weighing a fresh round of job cuts across the business, three people with knowledge of the matter said last week. Torres has signaled the lender may reduce its branch network in Spain.

Ricardo Forcano has been proposed as the new head of Talent & Culture, replacing Donna De Angelis. The Customer Solutions unit, lead by former Barclays Plc digital officer Derek White, will gain new responsibilities including asset management, global wealth and consumer finance.

“These changes are set to really push BBVA’s digital transformation as the bank is ahead of its competitors in embracing a new way of doing banking,” Ricardo Wehrhahn, a Madrid-based managing partner at banking consultant Intral Strategy Execution, said by phone. “Derek White has become one of the managers with more powers within the bank to lead the digital revolution in a faster and deeper way."

Gonzalez replaced the bank’s chief operating officer with Torres and swept out other senior managers in May 2015 to speed up the digital transformation. The stock has fallen about 41 percent since then. The new round of changes are meant to “create a more agile structure and to accelerate its transformation,” BBVA said in Wednesday’s statement. Torres became CEO in February.

BBVA was down 1.7 percent at 5.14 euros as of 10:26 a.m. in Madrid. The shares have fallen about 24 percent this year. The bank is set to release second-quarter earnings on Friday.

Vicente Rodero, current head of Country Networks, a unit created last year to boost the results of the group’s lenders in various countries, is set to leave his post. Chief Financial Officer Jaime Saenz de Tejada and Javier Rodriguez Soler, head of strategy and M&A, will be given additional responsibilities.

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