Porto, 22nd January 2021 - António Horta-Osório will be the new Chairman of the pharmaceutical company BIAL from April onwards, after leaving the position of Executive President of Lloyds bank. He will replace Luís Portela, the main shareholder of the company and its president for the past 42 years. António Portela will continue to lead BIAL’s Executive Committee.
Embracing this new challenge, Horta-Osório points out that “BIAL is one of the Portuguese companies I admire most and, therefore, I feel very proud with Luís Portela’s invitation. Luís launched BIAL in the world, transforming it into an internationally renowned company. I hope that my experience will help to further consolidate that path.”
António Horta-Osório has a long and successful career in the banking sector, which started in 1987 at Citibank, followed by Goldman Sachs in New York and London. In 1993 he was invited by Emilio Botín to Santander, where he created the Banco Santander de Negócios Portugal, having led the bank's operations in this country, in Brazil and later in the United Kingdom, becoming Executive Vice President of Santander Group in 1999.
In 2010 he was appointed CEO of Lloyds, having accepted non-executive director positions at the Bank of England and in some major economic groups, such as Exor (holding company of the Agnelli family) and INPAR (holding company of the Lemann family), which he still maintains. Last summer he announced his departure from Lloyds at the end of the current term, and in December it was announced that he will be the future Chairman of the Credit Suisse bank, from May this year onwards.
Luís Portela states that “this change has been prepared for some time, aiming, by the choice of my family, to strengthen the professional structure that we have developed, preparing BIAL for a new level in the international context.” And he adds: “I leave with a huge thanks to the fantastic team I had the privilege and pleasure of captaining and with the conviction that, with the support of António Horta-Osório, conditions are created to continue to serve the health of an increasing number of people.”
In 1979, Luís Portela, then with 27 years old, bought the majority of the capital and assumed the presidency of the company founded in 1924 by his grandfather, leading its transformation into an innovative international pharmaceutical company, with the global launch of the first drugs of Portuguese research: an antiepileptic and an antiparkinsonian. In 2011, he passed the Executive Presidency to his eldest son, António, taking over as Chairman. Since 2010, his son Miguel is also part of the Board, reinforcing the presence of the fourth generation of the Portela family in the management of BIAL.
Luís Portela had already announced that he would retire from his professional life before the age of 70 - which he reaches within some months – to dedicate himself to the BIAL Foundation, his books and his family. The BIAL Foundation, which he will continue to preside, is a patronage institution, created in 1994 in conjunction with the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities, with the mission to encourage the scientific study of the human being, both physically and spiritually.