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Santander’s U.S. Arm Hires Senior M&T Bank Lawyer as Legal Chief

April 9, 2020, 9:40 PM

Santander Holdings USA Inc., the Boston-based U.S. unit of Spain’s Banco Santander SA, has hired Brian Yoshida to be its new chief legal officer.

Yoshida, a senior vice president and senior deputy general counsel at M&T Bank Corp., will report directly to Santander president and CEO Timothy Wennes when he starts his new job May 4, the bank announced Thursday.

Wennes took over as Santander’s top U.S. executive in December after predecessor Scott Powell joined Wells Fargo & Co. as a top deputy to that San Francisco-based bank’s new CEO Charles Scharf.

Yoshida did not respond to a request for comment about his move to Santander, which will see him replace Michael Lipsitz, a senior executive vice president and chief legal officer who oversees the bank’s U.S. legal and corporate affairs functions.

Santander’s statement announcing Yoshida’s hire said that he will lead the company’s “U.S. legal department and oversee legal risk management and provide legal advice and support for Santander entities, businesses, and functions across” the U.S., as well as oversee “U.S. government relations and public policy, regulatory relations, the duties of the corporate secretary, and governance functions.”

The statement announcing Yoshida’s hire did not mention Lipsitz by name or disclose his status with the company.

In a brief phone call with Bloomberg Law, Lipsitz confirmed that he will soon leave Santander for another job after helping with the transition of Yoshida into the chief legal officer role. Lipsitz declined to discuss his new endeavor.

A 2019 proxy statement recently filed by Santander shows that Lipsitz earned nearly $2.8 million in total compensation—including about $1.83 million in cash—from the company last year. Lipsitz joined Santander in 2015 after serving as managing director and general counsel for retail and community banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he held a variety of in-house roles since 2004.

Bloomberg Law data shows that McGuireWoods and Burr & Forman have collectively handled more than 31% of Santander’s U.S. litigation work within the past five years.

Santander’s hire of Yoshida comes the same week that The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. brought on Latham & Watkins partner Kathryn Ruemmler to serve as its new global head of regulatory affairs.

Wells Fargo hired Ellen Patterson, a former general counsel at Toronto-Dominion Bank, last month to become its new law department leader, while Regions Bank parent company Regions Financial Corp. recruited Tara Plimpton to succeed the retiring Fournier “Boots” Gale III as general counsel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at