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Bank boss on £3m a year: I only took the job because I can work from home

Mike Regnier CEO of Santander UK
Santander UK boss Mike Regnier only spends two days a week working in the bank's main offices in Milton Keynes and London - House of Commons/UK Parliament

A bank boss who earns £3.3m a year has admitted he only took the job on condition that he was allowed to work from home.

Mike Regnier, the chief executive of Britain’s fifth-largest lender Santander UK, said he was convinced to accept the role after the bank allowed him to work out of the office most of the time.

The 52-year-old spends up to two days a week working in the bank’s main offices in Milton Keynes and London, and the rest of the week from his home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, or travelling the country.

Mr Regnier was lured into joining Santander in April 2022 from his position as chief executive of the Yorkshire Building Society, which is headquartered in the region.

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Prior to joining the bank, he had lived for the past two decades in Yorkshire, where his family is based.

“I don’t think it’s absolutely vital that people spend all five days a week in the office as they did pre-Covid,” he told The Guardian.

“And, actually, had it not been for Covid, I wouldn’t have accepted this job, because I wouldn’t have wanted to be away from home five days a week in London. That wouldn’t have been good for the family or for me.”

Like many bank bosses, Mr Regnier also spends a large proportion of time travelling to branches and other satellite offices around the country.

Santander UK, owned by Spanish parent Banco Santander, has 19,000 staff, most of whom are only expected to be in the office two days per week.

The comments put Mr Regnier at odds with many other business leaders who have criticised working from home.

Disney’s Bob Iger demanded staff return to the office four days a week earlier this year, saying “nothing can replace” staff being physically together.

David Solomon, the Goldman Sachs chief executive, said working from home was an “aberration” that was bad for collaboration and innovation.

Spain has a more flexible approach to working from home, with many large banks still maintaining teleworking even after the end of the pandemic.