George Ashworth has joined Santander’s corporate and commercial banking unit as its managing director for asset finance.

Ashworth will report to Chris Sullivan, who is chief executive officer, Santander Corporate & Commercial.

In August Leasing Life reported that Ashworth had left UK challenger bank Virgin Money, after the bank decided to shelve its plan for a commercial lending unit, as revealed in its half year results.

Ashworth joined Virgin Money as director of its intended SME business lending unit in November 2015, after setting up and growing Dutch lessor ABN-Amro Lease UK, now headed by managing director Richard de Keijzer.

This year he featured in Leasing Life’s power 50 list of the top influencers in the European asset finance industry, the fourth time he has appeared in the annual list.

Ashworth has had a 39 year career in banking and leasing, starting at Barclays in 1977, before entering into asset finance in 1989 as managing director of start-up IVM Finance, later bought by DLL. His career has taken him to DLL; captive lessor Crown Equipment Corporation; Lombard; Fortis Lease and Aldermore.