Tributes have been pouring for 73-year-old António Vieira Monteiro, president of Santander bank in Portugal, who lost his battle for life in Lisbon yesterday, becoming the country’s second fatality due to Covid-19.
Mr Monteiro had been in quarantine since the beginning of the month after becoming infected with the virus while on holiday in Italy during the Carnival break.
In the last week, as his condition worsened, he was in the intensive care ward of Lisbon’s Curry Cabral, one of the frontline hospitals equipped to deal with the pandemic.
Mr Monteiro’s daughter and grandchildren are reported to be equally infected – and thus will be unable to attend his funeral.
Wrote Santander’s president Ana Botim yesterday: “Early this morning we lost a great leader, professional and dear friend. Antonio was passionate about life and his job, and the Chairman of Santander Portugal. Until recently, our CEO, he joined us 20 years ago, and part of my team from the beginning.
“This morning when I was speaking to Pedro Castro e Almeida, our Portugal CEO and later to Rita, António’s daughter, I felt personally the true dimension of this crisis. Rita will not be able to attend the funeral as she has the COVID-19 herself. My colleagues and I – even though healthy – will also be unable to do so.
“I want to tell everyone in the extended Santander family and beyond, to all the communities, CEOs and governments, let’s work together to save lives and to save the jobs that can help save lives. Let’s each one of us contribute what we are best at, and forget ideologies and political parties. We are one global family. Working together, we can solve this faster and recover faster”.
Numerous other big names in banking have registered their sadness and condolences.
Vieira Monteiro had a long and ‘brilliant’ career in which he faced ‘many crises’ and won through. Nuno Amado, president of BCP bank, told Observador yesterday that his former colleague was “one of the best that the country had” part of “a very, very competent generation”.
António Horta Osório, the banking boss heading up Lloyds Banking Group in London, said he learnt of the death of the man with whom he had worked for more than a decade in the past with “enormous sadness”.
“António was a man with a very strong personality, an enormous breadth of experience in banking, particularly related to Credit and Businesses. He carried out his role on (Santander’s) Council in an exemplary way, contributing to the affirmation and healthy growth of Santander Totta in Portugal”, he said.
As health authorities have stressed, every death is a tragedy – and there will sadly be more to come.