Cesar Alierta Izuel: Legacy of a Visionary Leader at Telefonica

The city of Zaragoza mourns the loss of Cesar Alierta Izuel, a titan of Spanish business, who passed away at the age of 78.
Telefonica CEO Cesar Alierta on Capex
His profound impact on Telefonica, recognized internationally and adorned with accolades, shaped the company’s history, guided by his exemplary leadership, strategic foresight, and unwavering dedication to transforming Telefonica into a conduit for a more interconnected and humane world.

Born on May 5, 1945, in Zaragoza, Alierta’s educational journey saw him graduate in Law from the University of Zaragoza, followed by an MBA from Columbia University in 1970. His illustrious career included pivotal roles, serving as chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Appointments Committee at the Board of Directors of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), among other influential positions. He was a driving force behind the now-defunct Business Council for Competitiveness (CEC) and a member of the Columbia Business School Board of Overseers. Furthermore, he held the esteemed title of Full Member of the Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences of Spain.

In his final tenure leading Fundacion Telefonica and Fundacion ProFuturo, Alierta championed the cause of a more equitable and compassionate world through digitalization and education. Recognizing education as the linchpin of progress, he fervently advocated, stating, “Education is the main tool of change for transformation and social inclusion.” His mission aimed to enhance the education of underprivileged children globally, empowering them with choices for the future. His relentless dedication resonated with all who shared his vision. Under his guidance, both Fundacion Telefonica and Fundacion ProFuturo achieved pinnacle excellence, profoundly impacting lives and leaving an unparalleled legacy.

The boards of Telefonica, Fundación Telefónica, and Fundación ProFuturo, led by Telefonica’s Chairman, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, expressed profound sorrow at Alierta’s passing. They hailed his strategic acumen, emphasizing the monumental legacy he leaves behind at the company and his substantial contributions to societal and educational causes during his recent years at the helm of the foundations.

Alierta’s indelible mark extends beyond his illustrious professional career; he will be remembered as an indefatigable worker, a visionary strategist, a devoted friend, a staunch advocate for Zaragoza, and a compassionate and generous individual.

“It is a somber day for the Telefonica family. We are all entrusted with the immense legacy left by César Alierta, a passionate, brilliant, and courageous man with an open heart. His vision and intuition perpetually guided him to endeavor for a better world. His deep affection for his homeland allowed him to carry Zaragoza’s essence to every corner of the globe. Thank you deeply, dear friend,” expressed Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Chairman of Telefonica.

In commemoration of Alierta’s legacy, all Telefonica employees worldwide are invited to observe a minute’s silence at noon tomorrow in various Telefonica headquarters.

Alierta’s professional journey saw him as the General Manager of the Capital Markets area at Banco Urquijo in Madrid from 1970 to 1985. Subsequently, he founded and chaired Beta Capital, concurrently chairing the Spanish Institute of Financial Analysts from 1991. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors and Standing Committee of the Madrid Stock Exchange.

Assuming the Chairmanship of Tabacalera, S.A. in 1996, Alierta facilitated the cross-border merger with French company Seita, birthing Altadis, which he led until July 2000. His tenure as Chairman of Telefonica commenced in July 2000 until April 8, 2016, shaping the company’s trajectory significantly.

In June 2010, Alierta received the Americas Society Gold Medal in New York, honoring his pivotal role in the growth and development of Latin America. Five years earlier, in recognition of Telefonica Group’s management, he was bestowed the “Global Spanish Entrepreneur” award by the Spain-U.S. Chamber of Commerce in New York, marking the company’s entry into the Dow Jones Global Titans 50 stock market index.

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