Pablo Isla (President of Inditex): "The best companies are those that are ahead of their time and anticipate consumers' tastes thanks to the impeccable simplicity of their model"
28 de June de 2019
28 de June de 2019
EAE Business School held this year's graduation ceremony for the Madrid Campus in a grand ceremony at the Madrid Arena. More than 2,300 students of the graduating class of 2018-2019 were honoured to have an exceptional patron of the calibre of the President of Inditex, Pablo Isla, who told the recent graduates that they had chosen to train at "one of the top business schools in the world, EAE", which gives them access to the best "teachers and resources to lay the optimal foundations for their professional futures".
Isla encouraged the graduates to make their own decisions. "You will have to make the most important decisions in your life on your own, based on being completely honest with yourselves and from a certain isolated perspective that enables you to discern exactly what kind of life you really want for yourselves and the environment that surrounds you", he stressed at the start of his speech. This recommendation was similar to the advice that Polonius, the King's Counsel in Shakespeare's Hamlet, gives his son Laertes, who is just about to set off to France. Quoting Polonius directly, Isla told the participants, "this above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man".
Following the recommendations of the character from Hamlet, Isla joked that Shakespeare was a "visionary who imagined Inditex centuries in advance", as Polonius advised his son to buy "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man".
This was not Isla's only literary reference, as he also quoted Vargas Llosa, who assures us that working as a writer requires values such as "effort, dedication, commitment to the work and passion for the task". To this list of values, Isla added "a self-critical spirit and humility", attitudes that we need so that we are "permeable to lifelong learning, a capacity that enables us to continue improving as people throughout our lives".
Another author that Isla mentioned in his speech was Viktor Frankl, the acclaimed psychologist, who was a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp between 1942 and 1945. He is the author of one of the most highly respected books that explores the human soul, 'Man's Search for Meaning'. "The secret to success is not in the goal bur rather in the journey towards the goal, alongside your professional achievements", added Isla, who was named as the world's best CEO in 2017 and 2018 por by Harvard Business Review, paraphrasing the respected Austrian psychologist.
AMANCIO ORTEGA, FOUNDER OF INDITEX
Isla also mentioned Amancio Ortega, the Founder of Inditex, in his speech to the students of EAE Business School. "He managed to conceive of the dream of creating a fashion brand accessible for everybody with the power to compete with extremely successful companies, in an industry in which it seemed that everything had already been invented. He was absolutely convinced that there was a gap in the market where nobody had seen it before. He did so with an approach characterized by humility, dedication, business discipline and a great deal of sacrifice", he described the founder the company that he now runs.
Inditex is a company with a turnover of over 26.1 billion euros and more than 174,000 employees, operating physically in 96 markets and more than 200 online. The company has become the leader in Spain in terms of capitalization, generating the most revenue in the world in the fashion retail sector.
Discussing Ortega, Isla explained that he implemented "universal values" throughout Inditex, including leadership, humility, passion, commitment, ethics, effort and enthusiasm. "These values make the difference in your projects and they must also be sustained over time, being consolidating and spreading throughout the day-to-day operations of any company that you start or in which you work", he advised the new EAE graduates.
"Every day is a new challenge in which we practically have to start from scratch, reaffirming our explicit commitment to creativity, consistence, the entrepreneurial spirit of every person that forms part of the company, and a non-conformist attitude that defines us and drives us to surpass ourselves every day", he emphasized.
THE 21ST CENTURY COMPANY
Pablo Isla also encouraged the graduates to set up their own companies, using the paradigm of the essence of Inditex: "The best companies are those that are ahead of their time and anticipate consumers' tastes thanks to the impeccable simplicity of their model".
He then went on to list the pillars of the 21st Century company: putting people ahead of any other consideration, because they are the "company's soul"; innovation and constant investment; and sustainability as the founding pillar of the business model. In this respect, he underlined the importance of incorporating the concept of the circular economy within the natural cycle of the company. As such, "the 21st Century company not only generates economic value, but also and very importantly social and environmental value".
With respect to innovation, Isla explained Inditex's own experience when, around 2012, they became aware of the changes that were taking place in relation to shopping habits in traditional stores, after the popularization of online sales. "Anticipating the change was a key issue, thanks to which we defined a new model that we refer to as an integrated store and online platform", added Isla.
Since 2012, they have opened 3,433 stores with a different store concept that are bigger, with a larger range on offer and greater technological support. In addition, they have refurbished 2,428 stores to adapt them to this new format and expanded another 1,039, to absorb more than 1,500 smaller stores.
PABLO ISLA'S CURRICULUM
Pablo Isla graduated in Law at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (1987), he joined the Spanish State Attorneys Corps the following year, as the top student from his graduating class.
From 1992 to 1996, he was the Director of the Legal Services Department of Banco Popular, before going on to become the General Director of State Assets at the Ministry of Economy and Taxation. He later returned to Banco Popular to head the bank's General Secretariat.
In July 2000, the Board of Directors of the Spanish and French multinational appointed him as President, a post that he held until 2005, when he joined Inditex as Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer. Six years later, in 2011, he became the Executive President of the Group, taking over the role from Amancio Ortega. He has been a board member at Nestlé since 2018.
THE GRADUATES OF EAE BUSINESS SCHOOL
Over the course of this academic year, over 2,300 students at EAE's Madrid Campus have finished their studies on Master and MBA programs, in the areas of MBA, General Management, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Marketing and Sales, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Communication, Logistics and Project Management in the various formats offered. A total of 72% of the graduates are international, coming from more than 100 different countries on all five continents.
The ceremony for the graduating class of 2018-2019 was attended by the President of Grupo Planeta and Atresmedia, José Creuheras; the CEO of Planeta Formación y Universidades, Carlos Giménez; and the General Director of EAE Business School, José Luis Fernández, as well as the President of Inditex, Pablo Isla, who acted as the graduates' patron