SANTANDER has kicked off the hunt for a new UK boss after chief executive Nathan Bostock was appointed to a new role amid a wider group overhaul as it posted a 61 per cent surge in profits.

The lender, which has an office in Nelson Street, Bradford, said Mr Bostock has been appointed as head of investment platforms at Spanish owner Banco Santander and will step down from the UK business towards the end of 2021, once a successor has been appointed.

It comes as Santander UK reported pre-tax profits jumping to £184 million in the first quarter, up from £114 million a year earlier.

The group saw a sharp drop in provisions for loans expected to turn sour due to the fallout of pandemic, at just £5 million against £165 million a year ago.

Santander reported £1.5 billion of net mortgage lending growth as the stamp duty holiday spurred on a surge in applications at the end of last year.

The wider Banco Santander group also delivered a much improved performance, with its best quarterly earnings in more than a decade.

It reported net profits of 1.6 billion euros (£1.4 billion), up from 331 million euros (£288 million) a year ago and on an underlying basis, profits leapt 50 per cent to 2.1 billion euros (£1.8 billion) - its best quarter since the second quarter of 2010.

Mr Bostock said: “I am incredibly proud to have led Santander over the last seven years.

"I have been privileged to have worked with an amazing group of exceptionally talented colleagues who have shared my vision and shown an unwavering commitment to our customers.”