Thursday, September 29

Marta Ortega, one more president at the Ibex

2022 will be the year of Marta Ortega, elected at the end of last November by the board of directors of Inditex President from April 1 to replace Pablo Isla, a senior executive who has catapulted the business to the top of the Ibex with a market value close to 90,000 million euros. The rise of the daughter of Amancio Ortega, fruit of his second marriage with Flora perez, culminates the process of generational change started in 2011, when the founder handed over the presidency to Isla.

The new president, who has carried out various functions in the company since 2007, will have to show that she has her own qualities to manage an empire that has made her father one of the richest men in the world. The last name does not have to be a burden as it could be for Julian and Sean Lennon, sons of John Lennon, one of the four Beatles; but it can be a virtue, as happened with the fashion designer Stella McCartney, daughter of Paul, author of songs like ‘Yesterday’ or ‘Hey Jude’, who has had an autonomous career.

Explains it too el ‘Financial Times’ that, before the critics who warn about the “prevalence of DNA over the MBA”, defends that “keeping the heirs at the helm of the company is an ingredient of long-term success in large family companies”, saving exceptions such as the Gucci , protagonists of the last film of Ridley Scott.

There are precedents: Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander, who relieved his father Emilio when he died in September 2014 or the sisters Marta and Cristina Álvarez, who inherited the throne of El Corte Inglés from Isidoro Álvarez, also deceased seven years ago. Both in the Ibex and outside it, female representation is still scarce.

The new president is her father’s right eye, assure those who know them. Amancio Ortega had in his first marriage with Rosalía Mera (died in 2013), from whom he separated, two children: Sandra and Marcos. The first is the richest woman in Spain, the second shareholder being the Inditex empire. When her parents divorced, Sandra always stayed by her mother’s side and away from the spotlight. Marcos, for his part, suffers from a significant disability.

Social life

Marta has a more social life by moving both in the world of horse riding, one of her passions, and in fashion. She is married in a second nuptials with the former representative of designer models Carlos Torretta, son of the fashion designer Roberto Torretta; after divorcing the jockey Sergio Álvarez Moya. Their wedding, in November 2018, was one of the events of the year, with live performances by Chris Martin, and lead singer of Coldplay; Norah Jones or Jamie Cullum, among others.

In a statement to ‘The Wall Street Journal’, Marta Ortega declared that she did not plan to adopt a formal position in the company’s executive, although she was “open” to it. “To be honest, I would like be close to the product, which was what my father always did, I will be where the company needs me the most, “he said.

Said and done, Ortega, who will be 38 years old on January 10, will become president, backed by a CEO, Óscar García Maceiras; and a steering committee will contribute to feminize a still very masculine territory, that of the Ibex leadership, which still has little presence of women. As of April there will be three presidents of companies of the main Spanish stock market reference: Marta Ortega (Inditex), Ana Botín (Santander) and Beatriz Corredor (Red Eléctrica). These are joined by the CEOs: Maria Dolores Dancausa (Bankinter) and Cristina Ruiz placeholder image (Indra).

Far from being egalitarian

It is evident that the female quota on the boards of directors of the large Spanish listed companies is still far from being equal. In the financial year 2020, the presence of women in the leadership of Spanish companies stood at 27.6%, according to the report ‘Remuneration of directors of listed companies’ prepared by KPMG Abogados. This figure, which has improved substantially in recent years, is still far from the 40% target recommended by the stock market supervisor, the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV, for the year 2022.

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However, we must also highlight the progress in this regard, because when the CNMV’s Good Governance Code was drawn up in 2015, the presence of women on the boards of Spanish listed companies stood at 15.6% (19.6% in the case of only accounting for the Ibex) compared to the 30% target set for 2020. With the figures on the table, the stock market regulator decided in June of last year raise the recommendation to 40% by 2022. Experts warn that this objective will foreseeably come later, since some 14 companies of the large Spanish listed companies still fail to meet the 30% quota with which they should have closed 2020.

Social dialogue has been the protagonist

If Congress does not veto it, social dialogue will have consolidated in 2021 as the main protagonist. The tripartite agreement on the labor reform, which has taken almost a year of discussions and negotiations, is a clear example of this and ratifies the prospects that existed at the end of 2020. The second vice president (she started the year third) and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz; the president of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi; and the leaders of the UGT and CCOO, José María Álvarez and Unai Sordo, can share the credit, which was joined in the last phase by the first vice president (she started the year as second) and the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, can share the merit of this triumph.

This is an advance that the Government of Pedro Sánchez can wield: a dialogue in which the parties involved have been willing to resign for the sake of the pact and even with internal movements against it, as is the case of the CEOE, which saw how The Catalan and Madrid employers, Foment del TReball and Ceim, the motor (Anfac) and the field (Asaja) abstained and did not hesitate to criticize the result of the reform that will now have to pass the process of Congress, with Government partners who do not see it clearly.

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