Ana Botín, who was appointed chair of Banco Santander in September, has distinguished herself in the business world as one of just six women at the helm of a global Fortune 100 company and the first woman to head a European lender.
But Botín is in the mix with everyone else when it comes to her biggest challenge: recruiting top tech talent.
At the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in London on Tuesday, a member of the audience, Karen Appleton, a senior vice president at Box, asked Botín to describe how technology will change Santander’s business.
Botín said that’s the question that keeps her up at night, and she’s always in search of an answer.
Botín said she meets with the founders of tech companies to get a grasp on the trends. “There’s clearly going to be—and there are already—businesses that banks do that are being done by others. What is the rate of adoption by customers?” she said.
When it comes to adapting to technology, Botín’s biggest challenge is talent. “I want the best people, not just on the banking side but on innovation and technology. It’s very hard for the best engineers to come and work for Santander today for many reasons.”
Botin says she has a way of attracting them: “It’s about impact. So, of course a lot of people are going to be motivated by money and making hundreds of millions [of dollars], and that’s fine. But I think there are other people motivated by having an impact on millions of people. We have 100 million customers in markets with a billion people where we can really transform people’s lives and do great things. And that’s the way I’m going to try to motivate these very smart engineers and people hopefully like you to join us.”
And Botín doesn’t want just one or two engineers. “We need critical mass,” she said. “We need people, not just one or two. We need a lot of them.