Fashion – As a 38-year-old, Marta Ortega will lead the Zara Empire

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The daughter of Spanish multibillionaire Amancio Ortega will take over the management of Inditex, the global ready-to-wear giant, on Friday.

Marta Ortega, here in 2016 with her father, Amancio Ortega, the founder of Inditex.

AFP

At 38, she will be the most powerful woman in global ready-to-wear: Marta Ortega, daughter of multibillionaire Amancio Ortega, takes over the reins of Spanish giant Inditex, the parent company of Zara, at a key moment for the group’s future. Described as discreet and reserved, the youngest of the three Ortega children had been contacted for several years to succeed his father at the helm of the holding company with 6,500 stores and 174,000 employees.

Prepared for 15 years

But it was not until the autumn that his appointment was formalized as part of a reorganization orchestrated by Amancio Ortega himself – after ten years of “regency” of his former right-hand man Pablo Isla, craftsman of the group’s expansion internationally. “We have been preparing for this transition for a long time,” Pablo Isla said at a news conference. “Marta has been in the business for 15 years. She has led a lot of projects “and” knows her like the back of her hand, “he insisted.

Incognito sells

Born on January 10, 1984, from the association between the billionaire and his second wife Flora Perez, Marta Ortega, slim figure and blond hair, grew up in La Coruña, a town in Galicia located on the western tip of Spain, with her half – sister Sandra and her half-brother Marcos. She graduated from the European Business School in London in 2007 and took her first steps, incognito, in the family group selling in a Zara store in the British capital after attending a religious college in Galicia and then a prestigious private high school in Swiss.

‘The first week I thought I would not survive. But then, in a way, one becomes addicted to the store, told, during a rare maintenance with the Wall Street Journal, this passionate horse crew. But according to the Spanish daily “El País”, her colleagues, surprised to see a Rolex watch on her wrist, quickly understood who she was.

Lack of experience?

After leaving to join Inditex’s headquarters in Galicia, Marta Ortega was “immersed in the company from a very young age” and during her career she weaved “many connections to the fashion world”, emphasizes Alfred Vernis, professor at Esade Business School and former head of the textile group. The daughter of Amancio Ortega, based in La Coruña with her second husband Carlos Torretta and her two children, has been working in recent years to oversee the design and move upmarket of the Spanish brand. On the other hand, she did not hold a managerial position or manage a subsidiary.

Cultivated discretion

A career that partly explains her lack of notoriety: The young woman has almost never spoken out in the media, even though she has appeared several times in photos in celebrity newspapers, during horse racing events for example. Will his lack of experience in management and finance be a handicap? When his appointment was announced, the sharp fall in the stock market price revealed the market’s concern. But since then, the fear seems to have disappeared.

Marta Ortega, who will receive one million euros a year at the helm of Inditex, “has been well prepared” and will be “well surrounded”, Judge Alfred Vernis, who remembers that two of his uncles have management positions in the group. : one led by Zara, the other by the brand Massimo Dutti.

Complicated year 2022

In addition, the young woman will chair the group and not its general management, which is entrusted to Oscar García Maceiras, former banking giant Santander. “It is he who has to make the executive decisions”, although “she wants a role to play” in light of the challenges the group faces, the researcher emphasizes.

Founded in 1985 by Amancio Ortega, son of a railway worker and self-taught man who became the richest man in Spain, is the world leader in cheap fashion by preparing for a complicated year 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, which led to the suspension of activities in its 502 Russian stores.

Green shift

It has also embarked on a delicate “green shift” to reduce its environmental impact – the textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world. However, there is still a “long way to go” on this ground, stresses Alfred Vernis, for whom this switch “will have a significant cost” for Inditex.

(AFP)

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