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César, 50 years at your side

The death of César Alierta leaves a void in me that nothing and no one can fill. César has been someone very important in my life and with his departure I lose a reference. A companion of the soul, as the poet wrote. Someone with whom I have shared, not only countless professional projects, but, above all, a personal relationship that has deeply marked and enriched me over many decades. Someone with whom I have shared great ideals.

With drive and an overwhelming and magnetic personality, César has been, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant executives in our business history. Intelligent, creative, visionary, nonconformist and vital, he forged with effort an exceptional training that catapulted him to success from his native Zaragoza.

A tireless worker who laid the foundations of the Telefónica that we know today. With his great team, he promoted the international expansion, diversification and digitalization of the business, and projected the company to the category of global reference operator that it has today. He did it with enormous determination and audacity, without any type of complex and with a marked sense and feeling of country. All words fall short to describe his legacy in one of our flagship companies worldwide. Before, he had already shown his talent at Banco Urquijo, in the company Beta Capital that he founded or at Tabacalera. Wherever he was, César dazzled.

On a human level, he was always a person of deep moral convictions and inalienable social commitment. His genuine character and strong ways were the prelude to a colossal and delicate heart. I remember today, with special fondness, the journey we embarked on together to respond to a personal request from Pope Francis in an audience that we had the privilege of holding.

With his usual direct tone and friendliness, Caesar asked the Pope what his greatest concern was. The education of disadvantaged children in developing countries was the answer. At that precise moment, César took me by the arm and promised the Pope to leave his life in the effort.

From that plot, the Profuturo Foundation was born in 2016, a project that Alierta personally led from its origins and that has already enabled digital literacy for millions of vulnerable children around the world. A project to which he dedicated himself after his retirement from the front line. Because Caesar was also a man of consensus, someone capable of bringing together all sensibilities in the service of the noblest ends.

He was an extraordinary husband. He had the misfortune of not having children, but also the immense fortune of sharing his life with an excellent wife. Ana was the center of his life. The love with which he cared for her during the years of her illness was a priceless life lesson for all of us who experienced it. He was a loyal friend, always willing, with strong and sincere affections. Far from artifices and compliments, you could always count on him.

His example and legacy are a treasure that we must all strive to preserve. The mark that César leaves on my heart is eternal and deep.

Caesar, I will miss you and I hope we meet in eternity. Rest in peace.

Isidro Fainé. President of the La Caixa Foundation

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