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The enigma Alierta

Cesar Alierta had a unique career within an unrepeatable generation of businessmen who lived through the Transition and led a spectacular development in the Spanish economic panorama, transforming a very limited business fabric into a group of multinationals that were world leaders in the main economic sectors.

In this process César Alierta played a key role: coming from Banco Urquijo , which was always his reference, he was a successful banker and President of Tabacalera and later in the Competitiveness Council , he had a social leadership role in very difficult times. But Alierta’s great vital and professional project was Telefónica , which he transformed into a world-class company and which this year will celebrate its centenary.

Here I would like to reflect, above all, a personal vision of someone who had the experience and privilege of working intensely with César Alierta for eight years and traveling frequently with him.

Meeting César Alierta meant facing an enigma: Alierta was not the person you expected as president of the then first Spanish multinational: shy, not fond of public appearances, an impulsive smoker and unlimited coffee drinker, allergic to certain social life and messy speaker in several languages. He did not respond even remotely to the conventional profile of a captain of Industry: accompanying him every year to the Davos Summit or the G20/B20 meetings was quite an experience.

César Alierta, former president of Telefónica CRISTINA DE ROJAS, dies

When you met Alierta the question was immediate: what has made this man with such a peculiar personality become the first businessman in Spain and one of the most important in the world?

The close relationship with him soon gave you the answer: what characterized César Alierta was his extraordinary intelligence, his ability to anticipate and analyze the situations he faced.

Alierta was always two steps ahead of those around him and his collaborators soon learned that when Alierta made a decision that we did not understand, which was not uncommon, he had his reasons and time always proved him right.

Along with his extraordinary intelligence, Alierta’s other great characteristic was his bonhomie; he was a good person even if he sometimes tried to hide it.

He demonstrated it in the long illness of his wife Ana. Friend of his friends, with the loyalty and affection that he always maintained with those of us who had worked with him. He demonstrated it with his commitment to Aragón and Zaragoza and always remembered that his father had been the Mayor. of the city and with almost never profitable bets on the emblematic projects of their land.

Intelligence and common sense that he also demonstrated in the way he managed his departure from Telefónica and his succession to the Presidency.

Bonhomie and intelligence also explain his close relationship with very notable people who distinguished him with their affection, such as Chancellor Merkel or Pope Francis, who always knew how to see that behind the character Alierta there was a good and intelligent man.

*Carlos López Blanco , State Attorney (excl.) was General Director of Public Affairs of Telefónica.


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