The board of directors of El Corte Inglés has unanimously appointed Marta Álvarez Guil as non-executive president of the company on Wednesday, appointment that comes just over a year after the resignation of his cousin Dimas Gimeno and that he assumed the reins of the Jesús Nuño de la Rosa group.
Álvarez thus becomes the first woman to preside El Corte Inglés in its more than 75 years of history and with its appointment the company is once again led by a member of the founding families.
Until the arrival of Nuño de la Rosa, the group was chaired by the founders César Rodríguez and Ramón Areces, Isidoro Álvarez and Dimas Gimeno, passing the charge of uncles to nephews.
From his new position, he will ensure the proper functioning of the board of directors and the Audit and Control, Appointments and Remuneration, and Corporate Social Responsibility committees) and will assume the direction of the board and the institutional representation of the group, whose management they will continue to be in charge of Nuño de la Rosa and Víctor del Pozo, as CEOs.
Law graduate, Álvarez Guil is a counselor at El Corte Inglés and patron of the Ramón Areces Foundation (the company's top shareholder) since 2015.
Throughout his 20 years of career in the group, he has held positions of responsibility, including in the Purchasing area, where he was responsible for reordering and promoting the Department of Home and Decoration. In recent years he has focused on the Fashion area.
"The Board of Directors today has given me the confidence to lead a professional team that I admire, respect and know very well," Álvarez said in a statement, in which he stressed that he will persevere in the group's commitment to innovation and technology.
Marta and her sister Cristina are the largest individual shareholders of the distribution group through the IASA Securities Portfolio, in which the family of Dimas Gimeno also participates, with which they maintain discrepancies regarding the inheritance of the president of El Corte Inglés Isidoro Álvarez, deceased in 2014.
Gimeno acceded to the presidency after the death of his uncle, who appointed him his successor at the head of the company. In parallel, Marta and Cristina, adopted daughters of Alvarez, entered the council and took positions in the command bodies.
Last summer, family disagreements over the control of one of the largest companies in Spain jumped into the media and ended with the resignation of Gimeno as president of the company and his departure from the board of directors.
After ceasing Gimeno, the council appointed Jesús Nuño de la Rosa as executive president.
Now, the company returns to the scheme drawn up in October 2017, when Dimas Gimeno passed from president and CEO to non-executive chairman, and appointed two CEOs.
Since then, Del Pozo manages the distribution and department store business, and Nuño de la Rosa, the corporate areas and the rest of the subsidiaries, such as Travel, Insurance or IT.
From the company have highlighted that the appointment of Alvarez occurs "after a long period of reflection started in 2018" and is part of the best corporate governance practices, to distinguish "clearly" the functions of the president of the the CEOs.
According to sources of the group, Álvarez will give "absolute continuity" to the management of the group, currently focused on reducing debt and strengthening the business through the internet and omnichannel.
The main shareholders of El Corte Inglés are the Areces Foundation (37.79%), IASA (the 22.18% shareholding of Isidoro Álvarez), Primefin (which brings together the 10% held by Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani) and the companies of other heirs Corporación Ceslar (9%) and Cartera Mancor (7%).
Given that the board of directors is sovereign to elect its president from among its members, the appointment of Marta Álvarez will not have to be ratified by the Board that will be held at the end of August.
After the expulsion last year of Gimeno from the board of directors, the highest governing body of El Corte Inglés has two independent directors, Fernando Becker and Manuel Pizarro; two executive directors (Nuño de la Rosa and Víctor del Pozo) and two external directors, the historical Florencio Lasaga (84 years old) and Carlos Martínez Echevarría (82 years old).
The rest of seats are occupied by Marta and Cristina Álvarez, Carlota Areces (Cesar), Shahzad Shahbaz (representative of the sheikh) and Paloma García Peña (Mancor).
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