Ana Botin, the new chairwoman of Santander, told shareholders today she would defend the legacy of her father at the helm of the euro zone's biggest bank.

She said the bank's priorities included maintaining a prudent strategy and dividend policy. 

Appointed last week after the sudden death of her father Emilio, Botin also said she would push ahead with the international diversification of the lender. 

Ms Botin made her comments at an extraordinary shareholders meeting in Santander, in northern Spain today.
She said prudent risk-taking, focus on clients and retail banking, and the capacity to take advantage of acquisition opportunities were Emilio Botin's management achievements. 
"My ambition is to continue this success story, to which I will dedicate my greatest efforts," she said. 
She also said the Spanish lender's strong national units, most of them listed, were a strength that would deliver future growth. 
Ana Botin confirmed Santander was seeing positive earnings trends for 2014. "As we come to the end of the third quarter, I can tell you that the positive trends in the group's results are continuing," she stated.