If Andrea Orcel’s life story had stuck to the script, he would not be here having lunch with the FT. At least not today. He should have been strutting the stage at Santander’s strategy day — which is taking place just a few miles away in the City — having embarked on a “once in a lifetime” opportunity as the CEO of one of Europe’s largest banks. Instead, the 55-year old was very publicly rejected by Santander and finds himself unemployed for the first time in more than three decades. The Spanish bank rescinded his job offer in January, after it apparently concluded it could not justify paying him a sign-on package said to be worth €50m at a time of renewed anger over banker pay. Now Orcel is readying for a legal fight against his erstwhile would-be employer. We meet at Lurra, a Basque restaurant in Marylebone. Given that region’s long fight for independence from Spain, I can only wonder if his choice of venue is supposed to make a point. I am seated by the window at a table bathed i...

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