EXCLUSIVE-Orcel cuts Santander claim to more than $55 mln in job offer case -source

MADRID, May 18 (Reuters) - Andrea Orcel has cut his compensation claim against Santander over a rescinded offer to make him chief executive to slightly more than 45 million euros ($55 million), a source with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The Italian banker has dropped a part of his legal claim that would require the Spanish bank to hire him because he has since been appointed as CEO of Italy’s UniCredit, the source, who declined to be named as the person is not permitted to speak on behalf of Orcel, told Reuters.

Orcel, who quit as the top investment banker at Swiss bank UBS in 2018 to join Santander, was seeking as much as 112 million euros for breach of contract and the damage to his career from the Spanish bank’s last minute U-turn.

The legal rationale for the case, which centred on defending Orcel’s integrity and honour, was unchanged, the source said.

He is now claiming 17 million euros related to a bonus, around 20 million out of a 55 million compensation package that he was due to receive in future years from UBS and around two years’ fixed salary at Santander, estimated at around 11 million euros, according to the source.

Santander declined to comment. A spokesman for Orcel also declined to comment on the legal case, which revolves around whether a four-page offer letter was a binding job contract, or a non-binding initial offer, as Santander argues.

The Spanish court hearing, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, is expected to be wrapped up in a day but the outcome could come weeks or even months later. ($1 = 0.8187 euros) (Reporting by Jesús Aguado; additional reporting by Emma Pinedo in Madrid, Valentina Za in Milan and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich; Editing by Alexander Smith)