UK

Ana Botin, Santander CEO, Says 'British Grumbling' Is Slowing Economic Recovery

19/09/2013 12:39 BST | Updated 26/09/2013 12:36 BST
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Ana Botin, chief executive officer of Santander U.K. Plc, speaks at the Institute of Directors annual conference at Royal Albert Hall in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept, 18, 2013. Britain's economy grew at the fastest rate in more than three years in the three months through August, according to an estimate from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

British pessimism and "grumbling" is hampering the UK economic recovery, one of Britain's top women in banking has warned.

Ana Botin, the Spanish chief executive of Santander UK, said the public had a "glass half-empty" view of life and should stop "criticising those that succeed".

"We need to stop frowning upon failure whilst criticising those that succeed," she said, in a blunt speech at the Institute of Directors' conference on Wednesday in London.

"Profit, wealth creation, competition: these are not dirty words, but the lifeblood of a dynamic economy."

Botin urged the British public to stop seeing big business as "sinister" as "all companies were once small".

The banking boss, who was paid over £4 million last year in salary and bonuses, said the public won a "gold medal in grumbling" in the run-up to the London Olympics last year.

She quipped: "I suspect this may reflect something buried deep in the British psyche.”

"I get the sense that the British do not like to look at things on the bright side of life. Maybe it has something to do with the weather.”