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Inditex: Marta Ortega, heiress of the Zara empire | United States

Marta Ortega Pérez does not have an office at Zara, although she worked there for 15 years. In this regard, the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, 37, is like her father, who has always preferred to work in the open space, alongside the rest of his team. From April 1, she will lead her Inditex fashion empire, as non-executive president. But change is underway at the company, which is headquartered in Arteixo, in the northwestern region of Galicia in Spain. Her relatives say that the future president of Inditex will have a much more public profile, unlike her father, who is very private.

A sign of this change was a the Wall Street newspaper interview published in August, the first Marta Ortega has ever given. This contrasts sharply with the silence of the father, who has never sat down with a reporter and is rarely photographed in public. “I’ll always be where the business needs me most,” she said in what is now seen as a teaser for the shock announcement of the succession. In the interview, she also recalled her humble beginnings working at a Zara store on King’s Road in London: “The first week I thought I wasn’t going to survive,” she said. “But then you get a little addicted to the store. Some people never want to leave. She fails to mention that her colleagues quickly realized who she was when they saw the Rolex watch she was wearing.

Until now, Marta Ortega has never held an official position in her father’s company, although her name has been branded for years to succeed its 85-year-old founder. When she takes her place at the helm of Inditex, which has a market value of 87 billion euros ($ 98 billion), she will become the most powerful (and youngest) woman in the small club of women leaders. of the Spanish stock market index Ibex 35.. Others include Ana Patricia Botín, executive president of Banco Santander, and Beatriz Corredor, who heads Spain’s electricity company Red Eléctrica de España (REE).

Born in Vigo, Galicia on January 10, 1984, Ortega has been groomed for the role since she was young and is seen as a key part of her future strategy. Sources close to Ortega say that she has done “a bit of everything” in a fashion group where “there is a lot of teamwork”. In recent years, she has focused on overseeing women’s fashion design, where she works with collection manager, Beatriz Padín, and developing the brand’s image. “They say Marta is different from her dad, but these are different times too, and she knows more about fashion and social media: she appears wearing a t-shirt in a magazine and the next day it’s sold out.” , noted the journalist. Xabier R. Blanco, who is the author of two books on Inditex.

Zara made an important transition: Over the years, this retail company has grown closer to important figures in the fashion world and adopted a more creative side. Collaborations with Steven Meisel, a great fashion photographer, have brought Zara’s site closer to the aesthetics of fashion magazines. Under Meisel’s leadership, campaigns and collaborations were launched with renowned designers such as art director Fabien Baron, stylist Karl Templer and filmmaker Luca Guadagnino. The development of premium collections, such as the one recently launched with actress and musician Charlotte Gainsbourg, has also enhanced the brand’s image.

She might not have a long CV in terms of business management, but she has specific training in Inditex, she knows what it is, how the business works and what the stores look like.

Javier Díaz Giménez, professor at the Spanish business school IESE

The future president of Inditex also goes shopping for big luxury brands and regularly attends the Valentino parades. The work of photographer Peter Lindbergh, a friend who died in 2019, leads an exhibition that she has personally supervised which opens to the public this Saturday in the port of La Coruña. “Peter was a genius as a photographer, but as a person he was a stratospheric, loving, patient human being,” she wrote in an email posted a few weeks ago in El País Semanal – his first statement to the Spanish-speaking media.

Before graduating from European Business School in London in 2007, Marta Ortega attended a religious educational institution in La Coruña, then completed her Bachilerato (education over 16 years comparable to the international baccalaureate ) in Swiss. She loves horses and has participated in equestrian competitions of international level. “She might not have a long CV in terms of business management, but she has specific training at Inditex, she knows what it is, how the business works and what the stores look like”, said Javier Díaz Giménez, professor at IESE in Spain. business school. “Family businesses are like this: someone has to represent the shareholder and the important thing is to know the family culture, and that cannot be learned at Harvard – Marta Ortega will have learned it from her father.”

Shares fell 6% on news of his appointment, which has been interpreted as a sign of fear over the departure of Pablo Isla, a well-respected executive who joined the group in 2005. He replaced Amancio Ortega when he left. he resigned as non-executive president in 2011. Marta Ortega will assume this position in April and will continue in her current role in addition to leading the board of directors. Inditex CEO will be Óscar García Meceiras, who joined the company in March. Pablo Isla called his successor “very humble” in the the Wall Street newspaper interview, but added: “At the same time, of course, she has strong opinions on a lot of different things.”

Xabier R. Blanco calls the decision “a return to the origins of Inditex”, with a few caveats. The Galician journalist also points out that the group’s longtime leaders, including Carlos Crespo and Pablo del Bado, remain at the top, and that Amancio Ortega himself continues to visit the offices regularly. “I think this looks like a very supervised replacement,” he said.

The announcement of Marta’s appointment removes long-held doubts about who would take over the family business. An alternative could have been Sandra Ortega, from Amancio Ortega’s first marriage. But it has been obvious for some time that the chosen one would be Marta, resulting from her second union with Flora Pérez.

Marta Ortega also managed to gradually introduce her father as a face in Spanish public life. He appeared with her on her first wedding day to rider Sergio Álvarez Moya in 2012. He then made an appearance at a company party she hosted when he turned 80 in 2016, and during his second marriage to Carlos Torretta, who now also works at Inditex. This was a big change for Amancio Ortega, whose photo only appeared in the company’s annual report in 2000.