Marta Ortega, Zara founder’s daughter, to chair parent company

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In this file photo taken on March 31, 2021 people walk past a Zara clothing store in Beijing. The parent company of Zara said on November 30, 2021, that Marta Ortega, the daughter of the Spanish clothing giant’s founder, will take over as chairwoman of the group. (Photo: AFP)
MADRID — The parent company of Zara said Tuesday that Marta Ortega, the daughter of the Spanish clothing giant’s founder, will take over as chairwoman of the group in a generational shift for the firm.اضافة اعلان

She will replace Pablo Isla, who has been chairman since 2011, in April, the company said in a statement. He was deputy chairman between 2005 and 2011.

Ortega, 37, has been working for the group in different areas for the last 15 years, even working anonymously as a shop employee at one point to learn the ins and outs of the company.

She is the youngest daughter of Amancio Ortega, 85, who founded fast-fashion giant Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia in 1975 in Spain’s northwestern region of Galicia and has long been seen as the heir to the company.

“I will always be where the company needs me most,” she told the Wall Street Journal in August 2021 during a rare media interview which revived speculation that she would one day take over the world’s biggest fashion retailer ahead of Sweden’s H&M.

“You never know what your future will be and I am open to it. Honestly, I would like to be close to the product. I think that’s what my father always did,” she added.

Inditex, which operates nearly 7,000 stores worldwide, posted a net profit of almost 1.3 billion euros during its first half of 2021, which runs between February and July.
The fashion group owns seven other brands in addition to Zara, including upmarket Massimo Dutti and teen label Stradivarius.

Stocking shelves 

Marta Ortega studied international business in London and carried out months-long stays in the departments of finance, accounting, sales analysis, and design when she began working at Inditex.

She also briefly worked as an anonymous employee at the group’s shops in 2007, reportedly stocking shelves, to get a better understanding of how they operate.

“I have lived and breathed this company since my childhood, and I have learned from all the great professionals I have worked with over the last 15 years,” Marta Ortega said in the statement.

“I have always said that I would dedicate my life to building upon my parents’ legacy, looking to the future but learning from the past,” she added.

Inditex said Marta Ortega “has led the strengthening of Zara’s brand image and fashion proposition, an area she will continue to oversee.”

It also thanked Isla, who is resigning, for his “leadership and vision” during his 17 years at the firm, saying the group had become “the leading company in its sector worldwide” under his watch.

‘New page’ 

The company did not give a reason for the departure of Isla, who is reportedly close to Amancio Ortega. 

Isla is highly respected in Spain’s business community, having served as cochairman of tobacco group Altadis and as a top executive of Spanish lender Banco Popular.

“The time has come to turn a new page,” he said in the Inditex statement.
Oscar Garcia Maceiras, who had become the company’s general counsel and secretary of the board in March, will become CEO effective immediately, Inditex said.

He will replace Carlos Crespo, who took the post two years ago. Crespo will remain chief operating officer.

Amancio Ortega has not had an executive role at Inditex since he resigned as chairman in 2011 and was replaced by Isla, although his entourage says he regularly visits the company’s headquarters in Arteixo in northwestern Spain.
He remains the firm’s largest shareholder with a 59 percent stake and is one of the world’s richest men.

The changes in the leadership of the company received a cool welcome on the stock market, with Inditex shares down 4.5 percent in late morning trade at the Madrid bourse.

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