From a very young age, I dreamed of working in the film industry. But, I did not have many options in 1998 in Spain. Instead, I ended up studying law at the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid. At the same time, I took a film course at the TAI Centro Universitario de Artes en Madrid, and I had my first experience as a salesman in the family business: El Corte Inglés. I worked for five years as a clerk at the El Corte Inglés location in the center of Castellana (Madrid), where no one knew that I belonged to the founding family. At that time, I would never have imagined that, before turning 40, I would head the leading retail company in Spain and Europe, with a turnover of 15 billion euros, 90 stores in Spain and Portugal and more than 92,000 employees.
After earning a Master in Private Law, I worked six months as an intern in the litigation department of private law firm Baker McKenzie. Then I went to Australia for a year to take two film courses and shoot two short films.
When I returned to Madrid, my uncle Isidoro – the business leader of El Corte Inglés – was waiting for me with an offer that I could not refuse. I moved to Portugal as part of the team that opened the first El Corte Inglés location in Lisbon, and I found it so stimulating that I realized I could have more than one passion. I liked participating in the group’s only international expansion to-date. Sometime later, I led the opening of the company’s Porto, Portugal, location, of which I was director.
From the moment I returned to El Corte Inglés Central Services on Madrid’s mythical Calle Hermosilla – as director of sales and marketing – everything happened very quickly. I joined the board of the Ramón Areces Foundation (2009), I became an El Corte Inglés director (2010), then advisor to the CEO (2013) and, after the death of my uncle, I became the youngest president in the history of El Corte Inglés (2014).
After this thrilling experience, I can only say that I am passionate about what I have experienced: the rethinking of the retail business, its digital transformation, the continuous reinvention of a retail giant. I am proud that my team and I achieved a significant increase in profits for El Corte Inglés during my years of management. I must conclude that, deep down, movies and business are similar in many ways.
Although cinema is still my passion, what really interests me now is figuring who will write the script for the future of retail.
I will do my part, using this platform, to analyze trends and contribute to the discussion with my expertise in the industry.