LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURS2|3Barcelona has a business ecosystemthat is open to the world,diversified,generating opportunities.At times likethe present,such an ecosystem is aninvaluable asset that we should fosterand promote.That is why we must makeour city ever more business-friendly,helping to create an environment thatencourages the establishment andgrowth of companies through policies toprovide support to SMEs,entrepreneursand self-employed people.The municipal authority works to ensurethat our city provides the necessary con-ditions and opportunities to guaranteea business ecosystem that can becomean economic dynamo in the future.Thesuccess of our business sector gener-ates employment and wealth that willcontribute to an economic reactivationthat is now more than ever vital for ourcountry.In response to the need for action in aneconomic climate that is full of chal-lenges but also of opportunities,ourpriorities include working with the maineconomic and social stakeholders andwith the knowledge society to urgentlyfind measures to reactivate the local andmetropolitan economy.It was to this end that the BarcelonaCreixement («Barcelona Growth») RoundTable was established in July 2011.Barcelona Creixement is an initiative ledby the City Council aimed at bringing allmajor players together,acting quickly tofind new ways of restarting the economy.As a result,some 130 experts fromdifferent fields proposed 30 measures,such as,for example,promoting appre-ciation of the values and role played byentrepreneurs and launching a businessacceleration program for the 30 compa-nies with the highest growth potential.The book you now hold in your handsprovides a good example of all this.Thepublication contains case studies of tenCatalan businesses that have carvedthemselves a place amongst the world’smost important enterprises,becomingleaders in their respective sectors.Theseare examples that should help to guideand motivate entrepreneurs,encourag-ing them to grow and think big,to dareto put good ideas into practice in theknowledge that the public authoritieswill accompany them along the way.Xavier TriasMayor of Barcelona
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURS4|56LEADING ENTERPRISESAND ENTREPRENEURS10TOUSROSA ORIOL& SALVADOR TOUSThe Growthof a Brand18GRUPO PLANETAJOSÉ MANUELLARA HERNÁNDEZRevolution in thePublishing Industry24BODEGAS TORRESMIGUEL A. TORRESWine’s Last Name32GRUPO INDUKERNJOSÉ L. DÍAZ-VARELAVocation,Entrepreneur38NATURA BISSÉRICARDO FISAS:ReinventingYourself at 5046HAVAS MEDIALEOPOLDO RODÉSAdvertisingPersonified52GRUPO PRONOVIASALBERTO PALATCHIThe Abilityto Create Trends60EXPO HOTELES & RESORTSANTONIO MESTREFrom Carpenter to Hotelier68FLUIDRAELOI PLANESObsession withInternationalization74MANGOISAK ANDICThe Virtue of Seeingthe Future
Business growth generates economicactivity and stimulates the socialenvironments in which it occurs.Manyinternationally recognized examplesof such activity are found in Barcelonaand its area of influence.At first,theytend to be highly personal businessprojects,closely linked to the enter-prising individuals who first establishthem.Through hard work and dedicati-on,however,the most brilliant projectscarve out a place for themselvesamongst the world’s most importantenterprises,becoming leaders in theirrespective sectors.Behind these key enterprises lie experi-ences and personal histories that canexplain how their success was achieved.Understanding these experiences canalso help to guide other entrepreneursand business ventures for which growthis the goal.This is one of the key prem-ises behind aXelera for global eXcellence,a program promoted by Barcelona CityCouncil through Barcelona Activa.Thisbook describes the exemplary growthachieved by ten local firms that havenow become global benchmarks.LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURS
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURS6|7The aXelera for global eXcellenceprogram is aimed at enterprises inBarcelona Metropolitan Area that areinnovative,have high potential forgrowth and the generation of wealthand employment and that may,one day,become a global reference for the city.The program seeks to identify and selectthe most outstanding firms,promotingand supporting them.This ambitiousinitiative is supervised by an AdvisoryBoard,whose members are all out-standing personalities in the world ofbusiness,finance,investment and theinstitutions in Catalonia.In some cases,board members also act as «corporatementors»,guiding participants through-out the program process.The companiesselected as part of the first call for pro-posals also had the chance to developcustomized business plans,under theconstant supervision of the consultantsErnst & Young,who advised them onnew action strategies to increase theirattractiveness to potential new investorsand clients.As it has developed,the aXelera programhas also enabled us to identify the keysthat allow firms to find the levers ofchange necessary to successfully em-bark on a process of sustained growth.These keys include the need to think bigand to constantly review the positioningof products on the market,as well asstressing the importance of specialistprofessional know-how.The ultimategoal of the program is that,one day,some of the participating businessesmay become like those selected for thisbook:the entrepreneurial champions ofour economy.The purpose of this book is to explore thechallenge of growing a business throughin-depth interviews with the foundersof ten companies selected for this firstvolume and that,as we have mentioned,have become global benchmarks.Impor-tant lessons can be learned from theirexperiences:lessons about teamwork,sacrifice and ambition,values that theentrepreneurs interviewed all share.These are amongst the values that haveenabled them to position their busi-nesses as international references.Theimportance of thinking big,of daring toput good ideas into practice or of makingdifficult things simple:these are just afew of the lessons that can be learnedfrom the interviews that follow.The successful business people fea-tured in this selection also talk aboutthe need to surround oneself with agood team and to trust its members;toimprove every day,and to make largechanges every so often;and to establishan international presence and be pre-sent in many different markets in orderto overcome tricky situations.There isno single recipe,nor are results obtainedimmediately.That is why the protago-nists of these success stories are alsoexamples of self-belief and the courageto reinvent themselves at all times,evenif it means beginning again.
The companies that these entrepre-neurs lead stand out for the growthand international status that they haveachieved.Each of these business initia-tives boasts at least one great merit thathas earned recognition.Planeta is thenumber one publishing group in Spainand Latin America;Mango is amongstthe top exporters in the textile and cloth-ing sector;Bodegas Torres manages thelargest area of vineyards in the Penedèswine-making region;Pronovias designsand markets wedding gowns worldwide;Indukern manufactures a huge productrange and has established an importantinternational presence;Media Planningforms part of Havas Media,one of theworld’s leading media groups;NaturaBissé is a cosmetics company whichexports more than half its production;Tous stands out,amongst many othervirtues,for its nearly 400 stores distrib-uted around the world;Expo Hoteles &Resorts is a chain of large and exclusiveestablishments;and Fluidra,a group de-voted to sustainable water use,marketsits goods and services worldwide.The purpose of this first volume,then,is to recognize and make more widelyknown exemplary cases as recountedby the prime movers themselves.Thesecases are references that require studyand thought,as they can inspire otherleading firms in our economy to aim forgrowth and globalization.However,these ten cases also serve asexamples of what our business fabricis capable of achieving.They arehome-grown models of innovation,expansion and internationalization.They are companies that add to the«Barcelona brand.»Our aim is for this book to be the first ina series,and that future additions to thecollection can showcase other businessventures that have become internationalbenchmarks.Perhaps we shall also beable to highlight in this way examples ofcompanies that,having taken part in theaXelera for global eXcellence program,in the future will become businesschampions,generating economic growthin our country.Sònia Recasens i AlsinaDeputy Mayor for Economy,Business and Employment,and President of Barcelona Activa
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSTOUS10|11ROSAORIOL &SALVADORTOUSFOUNDERS OF TOUSThe Growth of a BrandSince 1920, Tous has created a jewelry stylethat is unique in the world. Based on thefashion jewelry concept, its creations adaptto the different moments in people’s lives.This family company, which is present in45 countries with nearly 400 stores, owesits success to the absolutely fresh qualityand the craftsmanship and innovationwith which it produces 30 collections everyyear, using different precious metals andstones for each occasion.TOUSESTABLISHED 1920TURNOVER IN 2011 €325 MEMPLOYEES 2,300
In order to understand the history ofTous,we need to travel back in time toManresa 60 years ago.There,the Tousfamily ran a small jewelry shop thathad been around forever.Just acrossthe street,the Oriol family,friendsof the jewelers,owned a shoe store.Destiny had planned a joint future forthem.The children of the two families,Rosa Oriol and Salvador Tous,gotmarried,and she started to work in thejewelry shop.«When I was a kid,ours was the fourthor fifth jewelry shop in Manresa.Whenwe got married,we moved up to secondplace,and a few years later we becamethe first,Salvador Tous remembers.» Thestore still exists today.«We have remo-deled it quite a few times,but it is still onthe same street and at the same numberin the Born district.»As years went by,the workload startedto increase and they decided to dividetheir labor.Salvador would be in chargeof purchases and payments,and Rosawould design the product.«Today,Ifeel that this has been one of the keysto the success of Tous,because we’vebeen able to work for 45 years togetherwithout interfering in each other’sbusiness.» Rosa designed and Salvadorfound the money.The latter was oneof the most difficult tasks back then.«Wholesalers acted as money-lenders.They were bankers.You bought gold andthey financed it.» It was a time wheneverybody had to be on the ball andmake a living.It was forbidden to importgold,silver or precious stones in theirindustry.«Nobody wrote bills,everythingwas smuggled.»But over the years,they decided to takethe first step towards Europe.«Whole-salers were different there.They madelife easier for manufacturers and retail-ers because they offered the products inexchange for a commission.»They started off with a small workshopand just a few years later,«we alreadymanufactured almost 80% of the prod-ucts we sold.» They currently have over100 people producing jewelry.Tous ad-mits that «we always wanted to provideour customers with something differentfrom what can be usually found on themarket,but at the same time,settingattractive prices that also allowed us tomake a profit.»In Manresa they were successful fromthe start.«We started out resettingpieces.People who didn’t like a jewelcame to us and we changed it.In ab-solute figures,the first store sold morethan now.»People liked Tous jewels because «wepaid so much attention to trends.Wetraveled a lot and attended trade fairs.»Tous remembers that «at fairs backthen,if you were Spanish,you went last.Later they paid more attention to us.»He considers that Rosa has been the keybecause she notices what people arewearing.«We only look,while she sees.She notices everything.»45Countries in whichthe Tous brandis present.400Tous shops aroundthe World.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSTOUS12|13The next stop was Lleida.They decidedto open their second store far fromManresa.They bought a flat and livedthere for four years.«During the weekmy wife worked there and she cameback to Manresa for the weekend.» Thiswas the moment in the history of Touswhere the spirit of self-sacrifice cameup,a philosophy that Salvador does notfind in the current world.«Freedom andsacrifice no longer exist nowadays.Wedon’t have freedom,and the spirit ofself-sacrifice ends on Friday afternoon.»The effort paid off.They opened theirthird store also in Lleida before takingthe big leap to Barcelona.The Tous brand spread easily, but soonthey were seized by many doubts.The couple had four daughters. «Wedidn’t know what to do, whether toassign one store to each or open a fewmore stores that they would managetogether.» In the end, they chose thesecond option. However, a few yearslater they realized that it would not bejust a few more stores, but many. «Itwould have been complicated to havefour women in charge,» he points out.In the middle of this expansion pro-cess, they opened up shop in Madrid.It was 1990 and they set up on a smallboulevard, across from the ABC build-ing. Twenty-one years later, there are28 Tous stores in Madrid.«When I was a kid,ours was the fourth or fifthjewelry shop in Manresa.When we got married,we moved up to secondplace, and a few years laterwe became the first.»
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITYTOWARDS THE WORKERSSalvador looks back over a profes-sional career spanning over 40 years.He admits that,over all these years,the company and its people have gonethrough three different phases:«In thefirst,the main objective was to makemoney,to have a nice car,a house andgive a good education to our girls.Inthe second phase you work to get yourego boosted;that is,you like receivingacknowledgement from society or yourcustomers.And in the last phase,whichis the one we are in now,we see ourwork as a social responsibility towardsthe people in our company.» Nowadays,in the headquarters in Manresa,thereare 400 employees.«If things go wrong,we get 400 families into trouble,and wedon’t even want to think about that.»WE LEARN FROMOUR MISTAKESThe Tous path to success has not beeneasy.«We had difficult times,but theymade us grow stronger.» He remembersthe first time they got into debt:«It wasa terrible experience because the dealswith the banks were unfeasible.Weasked for a year and a half credit andthey said no,that we had to pay off theloan within a month.It was not fair andwe had a really bad time.We learned tosay no.If we couldn’t make it,we woulddo it later on.» Another obstacle theyhad to overcome was the expansionprocess outside Spanish borders.«Weset up in the USA,in San Francisco to beprecise.It didn’t work out and we lost alot of money.Eight years later we cameback and started up in Miami.» They nowhave six stores in the Florida area,dis-tributed between Miami,Orlando,PalmBeach and Boca Raton,and two cornersat Bloomingdale’s department stores.THE BEAR ASFIGUREHEADThe bear has always been an image ofthe brand Tous. It was originally part ofa collection showing more animals.Thelittle bear achieved such relevance thatit ended up becoming the symbol of thebrand. «It has boosted our image, ourprofile, greatly. We have enjoyed morethan 20 years of constant growth, tothe point where, sometimes, we eventhought it would swallow us up,» headmits.That is why the bear no longeroccupies such a prominent place inthe Tous range of products. «If we onlyfocus on one product and some dayit fails, we’ll be in trouble. It createsaddiction but it can also generate rejec-tion at the same time.» Even so, peoplestill like the bear, and Salvador uncov-ers one of their secrets. «From the veryfirst day, we’ve offered a quality productat a very good price.»TOWARDS A MORECOMPLETE BRANDIn the 90’s,they realized that Tous couldnot only sell jewels.They needed todiversify the company’s products to havemore supply for their customers.«Inorder to be a more complete brand,weneeded something more.» So they beganto manufacture handbags,glasses,housewares and perfumes.«I’m reallypleased with the diversification of thebusiness.Jewels still represent 67% ofour activity,handbags and leather goods23%,and the rest is made up by watchesand accessories.» Salvador considersthat «we must be careful about produc-tion.Jewelry takes up no room,buthandbags and accessories do.»HIGHLIGHTOriginally part of acollection featuringother animals,thebear has alwaysbeen an image of theTous brand.The littlebear achieved suchrelevance that itended up becomingthe symbol ofthe brand.
LIVING FORTHE BUSINESSIn order to understand the business suc-cess of the Tous family,it is importantto know that they have always lived fortheir business.«It’s part of the game.Ifyou do something,you have to undertakeit with all your enthusiasm and effort.Ifyou do it just for the sake of somethingto do,it’s better not to do anything.»Besides,he admits that «working justfor money is not enough motivation.Andleast of all with young people nowa-days,who get everything they want.» Heremembers that when he was young hecould not go skiing alone in his car.«Ineeded to look for three friends to sharegas expenses.If there were only two ofus,we had to go by train.Things are verydifferent now.In order to get a companyoff the ground,it is indispensable tomake sacrifices.»SELLINGA BRANDBut the magnitude of the companycannot be understood only throughthe sacrifices made.A very importantaspect has been investment in market-ing,communication and public relationscampaigns.Salvador admits that «we’vegot here thanks to good advertisingcampaigns.The problem is that youcannot see the results until you’ve spenta lot of money.» First it was EugeniaMartínez de Irujo,then Australian singerKylie Minogue,and recently they hiredPuerto Rican singer Jennifer López.«Theinvestment in advertising became nec-essary from the day we realized that wewanted to sell a brand.We didn’t want tosell jewels;we wanted to sell Tous.» Evenso,he emphasizes that behind a brandthere cannot be just a publicity image.«While you are growing,it is importantthat customers see that there is alwaysa face or a point of reference.BehindApple there was Steve Jobs,behindMicrosoft,Bill Gates,and behind Tous,there’s my wife and I.»HIGHLIGHTOver the last fiveyears,the firm hasdrawn up a familyprotocol to preparefor the succession.The four Tousdaughters areshareholders in thecompany,whilstSalvador andRosa hold themajority share.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSTOUS16|17ROSA ORIOL& SALVADOR TOUSLESSONS LEARNED1. The importance of brandand image.2. Investing in advertisingto sell a brand.3. Diversification of productsin order to grow and reducethe risk of depending on justone product or image.4. The social responsibilityof businesspeople today.TIME TO STEPASIDENowadays,and with plenty of workdone,Salvador feels it is time for theirdaughters to take over.«It’s always hardto move away from day-to-day activities,but sooner or later you have to.» For thelast five years,Tous has been workingon a family protocol in order to preparethe succession.Their four daughtersare shareholders in the company andSalvador and Rosa hold the majorityownership.Their second daughter,MaríaAlba,who is the current president ofthe Board of Directors,will take overthe running of the business.«Now I’mwaiting for my daughter to get used tothings and I’ll be gone.It’s high time forme.» Transition does not worry him abit.«Our project has always been theirs.They have known it since they were little.They have already been in the companyfor more than 20 years now.» He feelsit is time for him to retire,to step aside.«My father retired when I was 26.Thishelped me harden.If he had retired at70,Tous wouldn’t exist.It is time for themto command the ship together with theirmother.» Rosa is six years younger thanSalvador and he considers that «therestill are a lot of things to be done.Wehave always had different positions.She’s building a very strong design teamwhich is coming on really well.If Rosaleft the company,there would still besome things that would not quite work.»«We’ve got herethanks to goodadvertising campaigns.The problem isthat you cannotsee the results untilyou’ve spent a lotof money.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPLANETA18|19JOSÉMANUELLARAHERNÁN-DEZ(1914-2003).FOUNDER OF GRUPO PLANETARevolution in thePublishing IndustryPlaneta is the largest family-owned publishinggroup in Spain and Latin America, the secondin France and one of the leading groupsin the publishing industry in Europe.It is present in more than 25 countriesand has a potential audience of more than700 million people, thanks to its workspublished in Spanish, French, Portugueseand Catalan. The group is also the majorityshareholder in several Spanish mediacompanies, in press radio and television.GRUPOPLANETAESTABLISHED 1949TURNOVER IN 2011 €1.772 MEMPLOYEES 12,000
«I did the opposite of what everybodyelse does:I quit my job to get marriedbecause otherwise I knew my wholelife would depend on that job.Thenmy wife and I opened an academy oninstallments.In the end we had three.»«I spent the whole day with La Vanguar-dia newspaper in my hands.I read a lotof short ads to earn 500 pesetas a day.The transaction I’m most proud of is buy-ing a typewriter from one second-handstore,then selling it to another one andearning 300 pesetas.»«But there were days when I couldn’tmake a single transaction.Then Ilearned that Editorial Tartessos wasfor sale.I needed 100,000 pesetas tobuy it,and I didn’t have the money.ButI realized that if I sold the books in thewarehouse,I could earn the amountI needed.I called it Editorial Lara andit was a success.Then the Govern-ment prohibited the outflow of foreigncurrency,and I got scared and sold it.Imade the right decision.Then I starteda paper warehouse,and suddenly I wasbroke.I borrowed 100,000 pesetas fromthe bank and with that money,with lessthan 100,000 pesetas,I set up EditorialPlaneta.» These are just a few biographi-cal facts gathered in several interviewswith José Manuel Lara Hernández,creator of the largest Spanish-speakingpublishing empire.They show an enor-mously inquiring mind and enterprisingspirit.He had an powerful personalityand an extraordinary instinct for busi-ness.Nothing could stop him on his wayto becoming the greatest publisher inthe Spanish-speaking world.«Why did Iname my company Planeta,you want toknow? Because it was the biggest thing Icould imagine.»When Editorial Planeta was set up(1949),the young and inexperiencedJosé Manuel had to compete withpublishing houses like Plaza,Janésand Destino.The only resources he hadwere those he generated each day byselling books.He had no contacts in thepublishing industry,but what he did havewas a huge faith in himself and the pre-cious collaboration of his main publish-ing adviser,his wife,María Teresa.Hisprofile was very different from that ofthe average literary publisher in thosedays.In fact,that was his main competi-tive advantage.«Look,» said José Manuel Lara yearslater, «I have no idea about literature. Idon’t know anything about it and I don’ttry to. But what I do have is the bestteam of advisors in Spain. And that’s be-cause I think that a publishing companycannot be run by a man who knows toomuch, but by a company manager. Sell-ing is the difficult thing, not publishing.There are publishers who insist on pub-lishing their own libraries. My library isjust for me to read it. A publisher shouldpublish his catalogue.The books thatthe readers are interested in, not thosethat interest him.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPLANETA20|21CREATING A MARKET,FINDING NEW READERSWhere José Manuel Lara was reallysuccessful, as all his rival publishersacknowledged, was his ability to investin a lot of sales channels at the sametime, and thus, to be able to reachreaders more easily, creating in themthe need to read books, and offeringthem a product different from the rest:offering Spanish authors while the restwere offering translations of English-language authors.Among the main landmarks in the first25 years of Editorial Planeta’s historythere are five that we should highlightparticularly:the Premio Planeta,theliterary novel prize created in 1952;thesale on credit of literary collectionsand major encyclopedic works;the firstbestseller by a Spanish post-war author,The Cypresses Believe in God,by JoséMaría Gironella;the first steps of theexpansion to Latin America;and the col-lectibles business.«When I created Premio Planeta, myoriginal idea was to provide a steppingstone to Spanish authors. Our literaryscene was dominated by translations.In Spain, writing was a synonym forcrying. I set out to put an end to tearsand make writers earn some money sothat they could turn it into time to dotheir thing: writing. I wanted to put anend to the ‘7 to 9 in the evening’ writer;that was the free time they had leftafter getting home from the job thatearned them a living.» Awarded everyyear on the night of October 15, St.Te-resa’s day, in honor of his wife, the prizehas gained great acceptance amongreaders and has grown exponentiallyover the years.The winning novels havesold more than 45,000,000 copies alltogether, and the prize still is the mostvaluable literary award, since the win-ner receives 601,000 euros.HIGHLIGHTLara had a verydifferent profile fromthat of the averageliterary publisher inthose days.In fact,that difference washis main competitiveadvantage.«Selling isthe difficult thing,not publishing.»
THE SECOND GENERATIONARRIVESIn the 60’s,Editorial Planeta was given afresh boost when the second generationof the Lara family joined the Company’smanagement,sped up by the founder’sillness.At 28,José Manuel Lara Bosch,Grupo Planeta’s current president,started another one of the activitiesthat would allow the company to keepgrowing in the publishing industry andcontinue to make new investments.Thisconsisted of opening a new channel toreach customers:collectibles,storiesthat were sold through a network ofnewsstands.This business line neededa powerful partner.In 1984 the companycreated a joint venture with the pres-tigious Italian publishing house IstitutoGeográfico de Agostini,and so Planetade Agostini was born.HIGHLIGHTAwarded everyyear on the nightof October 15,St.Teresa’s Day,in honorof Lara’s wife,the Premio Planetaprize has gainedgreat acceptanceamong readers andhas grown exponen-tially over the years.EXPANSION THROUGHACQUISITIONS OF OTHERPUBLISHING COMPANIESThe expansion process started in the80’s with acquisitions of publishing com-panies.The first was Seix Barral,whichalso included the Ariel imprint.Manyothers followed and one particularlyoutstanding acquisition was Destino,which had serious financial problems.Allacquisitions stuck to the same principle:all publishing imprints added to GrupoPlaneta maintain their personality andautonomy.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPLANETA22|23JOSÉ MANUELLARA HERNÁNDEZLESSONS LEARNED1. Don’t be scaredto think big.2. Selling is the difficult thing,not producing.3. Know how to reach your custo-mers using the right channels.4. Put what interests audiencesonto the market,not whatinterests you.DIVERSIFICATION:FROM BOOKS TO CULTURALCONTENTAnother key moment in the history ofGrupo Planeta took place in the late 90’s.Chances for growth were to be found inthe media,training for professionals andaudiovisual entertainment industries.The work was hard and the project,fas-cinating.Grupo Planeta became not onlya publishing group,but also a providerof information,training,and culturalentertainment contents.Despite his advanced age,José ManuelLara Hernández continued to go intothe office every day to closely follow theevolution of his publishing group. Hesaw how his small company, estab-lished in 1949 with 100,000 pesetasborrowed from a bank, had becomea large multinational in the culturalindustry, faithful to the mission thatinspired it:to draw as many people aspossible to become interested in theworld of intellectual creation.On May 11,2003,after a long illness,José Manuel Lara Hernández passedaway in Barcelona.His son José Manueltook over and became president of GrupoPlaneta.The founder’s son currently runsa publishing group that embraces morethan 100 publishing imprints in Spanish,French and Catalan,and is the leader inSpain and Latin America,the second inFrance,and the seventh in the world.Itpublishes 5,000 new works a year,hasa catalogue of more than 15,000 classicand contemporary authors,and sellsaround 130 million books a year.100The group includespublishing imprintsin Spanish,Catalanand French.5,000new works a year.130millions books,both classicaland contemporary,sold every year.Grupo Planeta is also one of the threemain media groups in Spain.Permanentinnovation has been and continues tobe a key to the group’s success from thevery beginning.«Our ability to generateadded value,» stresses José ManuelLara Bosch,«is based on a strongbusiness tradition originally linked tothe book industry and culture in Spain,France and Latin America.And it goeshand in hand with the willingness to facethe challenges posed by cultural andcommunication industries in the 21stcentury with an open mind regardinginnovation and collaboration with otherinternational leaders.»«From its verybeginnings, permanentinnovation has alwaysbeen the key to thegroup’s success.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSBODEGASTORRES24|25MIGUEL A.TORRESPRESIDENT OF BODEGASTORRESWine’s Last NameBodegas Torres is a leading companyin the wine and brandy industry.With more than one hundred vineyardsand an area of over 1,594 hectares onlyin spain, Torres is the family-owned businesswith the most wine-growing land in thePenedès Denomination of Origin. BodegasTorres is currently present in more than140 countries and has an export rate of 72%.BODEGASTORRESESTABLISHED 1870TURNOVER IN 2011 €215 MEMPLOYEES 1,300
The Torres surname has been linkedto wine for more than three centuries,when they planted the first vinesin Vilafranca del Penedès.BodegasTorres was born in 1870 as an exportingcompany,and has managed to remainstrong,generation after generation,despite changes in trends,crazes,andeconomic circumstances.What is thesecret of its success? Bringing togethertradition and new trends in businessand wine with a single objective:leading the top-quality wine andbrandy industry.Nowadays the family business,run byMiguel A.Torres,a fourth-generationmember of the Torres family,anddirected by his son Miguel Torres Mac-zassek since September 2012,marketsover 50 brands and is present in morethan 140 countries in the world.In Spain,the company owns vineyards in the de-nominations of origin Penedès,Conca deBarberà,Priorat,Jumilla and Costers delSegre,and wineries in Penedès,Priorat,Ribera del Duero and La Rioja.On theinternational level,it has wineries andvineyards in Chile (Central Valley and Cu-ricó Valley) and in California (USA),whereMarimar Torres (fourth generation)manages the winery Marimar Estate andvineyards in the areas of the RussianRiver Valley and Sonoma Coast.The origins of the Torres family in thePenedès date back to the 17th century,when there are records of ancestorscultivating vineyards and marketingwines on a small scale.But it was notuntil 1870,when Jaime Torres Vendrellreturned from Cuba,where he hademigrated years earlier in search of hisfortune,that he and his brother MiguelTorres Vendrell started to build their firstwinery in Vilafranca del Penedès.50different Torresbrands.140Countries withthe presence ofTorres products.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSBODEGASTORRES26|27HIGHLIGHTThe origins of the Torres familyin the Penedès date back to the17th century, when there arerecords of ancestors cultivatingvineyards and marketing wineson a small scale.The family business,run by Miguel A.Torres,a fourth-generation memberof the Torres family,markets over 50brands and is presentin more than 140countries aroundthe world.
In 1979,Torresacquired a newwinery in the CentralValley of Chile(Curicó),the first tobe established bya foreign company inChile.Four yearslater,the brand’sinternationaldimension wasfurther increased bythe acquisition ofvineyards in SonomaValley (California).HIGHLIGHT
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSBODEGASTORRES28|29INTERNATIONALPROJECTIONAround the end of the 19th century,Tor-res wines gained great prestige in placesas far away as Cartagena de Indias,Santiago de Cuba,Veracruz,Bremen,Hamburg and Saint Petersburg.The Torres family’s eagerness to in-novate led them to dedicate themselvesnot only to wine production,but alsoto brandy distillation,with Juan TorresCasals as the major driving force in the20’s.This success was shattered in 1939,during the Spanish Civil War,when thewineries were destroyed.With the efforts of Miguel Torres Carbóand the help of his wife Margarita,the wineries were rebuilt,boostingthe company’s international renown.In 1979,Torres acquired a new wineryin the Central Valley of Chile (Curicó),which was the first one established bya foreign company in Chile.Four yearslater,its international dimension wasincreased by the acquisition of vineyardsin Sonoma Valley (California) and thebuilding of a winery where Marimar Tor-res currently produces chardonnay andpinot noir wines.Today,the fourth generation of the Torresfamily is represented by the presi-dent of the company,Miguel A.Torres,vice-presidents Juan M.A.Torres andMarimar Torres,and the fifth generationis represented by Arnau Torres Rosselló,Mireia Torres Maczassek and MiguelTorres Maczassek,managing director ofthe company since September 2012.Since the mid-90’s, Bodegas Torreshas been present on the Asian market.It is currently the second largest winedistribution company in China, with aturnover of more than 16.16 million eu-ros (2010 data), and it is present in Indiatoo, through a joint venture with Indianand British partners. Bodegas Torresalso has shareholdings in companies inMexico (Bodegas La Negrita), the UnitedKingdom (John Fells Sons), Norway(Torres Partners Norway), Finland(Wine State Oy), Andorra (SysponyDistribució), Brazil (Relocco), Canada(MT Canada) and the USA (Dreyfus Sons). Additionally, it has subsidiaries inSweden (MT Sverige) and the USA (MTUSA Inc).With the effortsof Miguel Torres Carbóand the help of hiswife Margarita,the wineries wererebuilt, boostingthe company’sinternational renown.
CONSTANTINNOVATIONIn order to maintain its position inthe market, Bodegas Torres goes infor permanent innovation. Among theprojects started, it is worth highlight-ing Cénit-Deméter, a project led by thewine company with the participationof 26 Spanish companies linked to thewine industry and 31 Spanish researchgroups.The project, co-financed bythe Spanish Ministry of Science andInnovation through the Center for Tech-nological and Industrial Development(CDTI), investigates the influence ofclimate change on the ripening processof grapes.In this regard,Bodegas Torres devel-ops the company’s own environmentalproject (Torres Earth),to mitigate theeffects of climate change.BodegasTorres is working on another researchproject involving the recovery of ances-tral varieties that have been disap-pearing from Catalan vineyards.Everyyear during vintage,the family-ownedcompany publishes ads in local papersrequesting vine-growers to contact themif they find some vine that they are un-able to identify.Some of these vines,likethe one called garró,have already beenincorporated into the blending of someof Torres brands,especially to the GransMuralles wine.Torres states that one of its objectivesfor the future is to consolidate its mar-kets –especially China,India,and Bra-zil– as well as to boost its Chilean wineryin order to grow in the USA and theUnited Kingdom.«The company’s mainmarkets are the United Kingdom,theBaltic Countries and Germany,althoughwe consider that it is in the USA that wehave the highest future potential.»HIGHLIGHTAmongst theresearch projectsthat Bodegas Torresis engaged in is aninitiative aimed atreviving ancestralvarieties that aredisappearing fromCatalan vineyards.Some of thesegrapes,such asgarró,have alreadybeen incorporatedinto the blending ofsome Torres wine,especially the GransMuralles brand.«The company’s mainmarkets are the UnitedKingdom, the BalticCountries and Germany,although we considerthat it is in the USAthat we have the highestfuture potential.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSBODEGASTORRES30|31PROMOTING WINECULTUREWith the aim of fostering wine culture,the Torres Visitor Center was born.Itopened in 1992 in Pacs del Penedès topublicize the winery’s production andthe family tradition.The Center currentlyreceives more than 90,000 visitors ayear,making it one of the most-visitedwineries in Europe.Apart from the Visitor Center,Torres alsomanages the so-called «Torres Work-shops» in Barcelona,Madrid,Valencia,Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Gran Canar-ia,where wine and wine-tasting coursesare given.The group has also opened«Vinotecas Torres»,bistro-style localesoffering the perfect combination of goodfood and excellent wine in Barcelona,Santiago de Chile and Shanghai.Additionally,Bodegas Torres has its ownFoundation,set up in 1986,with the aimof promoting environmental preserva-tion and the protection of childrenthrough the building of schools andshelters for orphans in the USA,Mexico,Chile,the Philippines and India.MIGUEL A. TORRESLESSONS LEARNED1. The ability to continue innovatingevery day based on traditional,classical products.2. How to successfully managethe internationalizationof a traditional business.3. The importance of identifyingthe company’s image with socialconcerns and trends.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOINDUKERN32|33JOSÉ L.DÍAZ¯VARELAPRESIDENTOF GRUPO INDUKERNVocation, EntrepreneurThe group is mainly made up of threecompanies: Indukern, Laboratorios Calierand Kern Pharma, and their subsidiaries.Indukern stands out for the diversityof its products, its wide internationalpresence, and its constant enterprisingstrategy. In 2010, turnover was 575 millioneuros. In 2011, the company’s turnoverwas 650 million euros.GRUPOINDUKERNESTABLISHED 1962TURNOVER IN 2011 €650 MEMPLOYEES 1,456
José L.Díaz-Varela’s business careerstarted very early.When he was only 18years old,he left his homeland,Galicia,and moved to Venezuela with his family.Two years later,he decided to startmaking a living as a pharmaceuticalsales representative.His ability toget on well with people opened a lotof doors for him and soon he foundhis place in the Venezuelan businessnetwork.A few years later,at 21,hejoined the company Industrial Kernof Venezuela.This proved to be a keyevent in his personal and,especially,professional development.The company represented many chemi-cal and pharmaceutical companies inVenezuela and Díaz-Varela soon wonthe confidence of his boss,Mr.Kern.Hissales increased each month and thefigures made him one of the best sales-men in the company.At 22,and with aconsolidated customer portfolio,he sug-gested Mr.Kern open a branch in Spain.«He trusted me and decided to investthe capital necessary for us to set up inSpain.» As Díaz-Varela admits, «I havealways been eager to grow,innovate,take on challenges.Mr.Kern saw a youngentrepreneur in me.»GOING INTOPRODUCTIONWith Mr. Kern’s consent, Díaz-Varelatraveled to Spain for three months andsettled in Barcelona. He researchedthe market thoroughly and reachedthe conclusion that the fine chemicalsindustry was a good market niche forthe company.Thus, in 1962 he set upIndustrial Kern Española. With theprofits obtained, he bought 24% ofthe company’s shares. In 1968 thecompany attracted the interest ofsome American businessmen. «Theybecame shareholders and a few yearslater Mr. Kern sold everything and Icontinued just with the Americans.» In1976,José L. Díaz-Varela became thesole shareholder of Industrial Kern. Hebought 50% of the shares owned by theAmericans and ended up running thecompany. He admits that from that mo-ment on the company «really started togrow,» coinciding with its strong entryinto the veterinary industry. Díaz-Varelaestablished Laboratorios Calier, spe-cializing in the manufacture and mar-keting of medicines for this industry. Infact, one of the keys to its success wasto start producing many of the brandsthat he had only marketed before.«I have alwaysbeen eager to grow,innovate, take onchallenges. Mr. Kernsaw a youngentrepreneur in me.»One of the keysto success wasto start producingmany of the brandsthat they hadonly marketedpreviously.HIGHLIGHT
BECOMINGA LEADERIn Díaz-Varela’s opinion,he has alwaystaken an entrepreneurial approach tothings.He remembers that just a fewmonths after arriving in Venezuela,he set up a table football business.«Irented table football games to bars andwe shared out the takings at the endof the day.» Díaz-Varela gained a lot ofexperience.«I understood the philoso-phy of buying and selling.I wanted to bea businessman.»As years went by,Grupo Indukern be-came the leading company in its activityindustries.The expansion did not stopand the company became a multina-tional.Daily activity became freneticand Díaz-Varela admits that he startedto delegate when he turned 50.He waslucky to be able to delegate to his chil-dren years later,around 1997-1998.Thethree of them studied business admin-istration.His son Raúl is currently thecompany’s CEO.Díaz-Varela emphasizeshow lucky he was to be able to delegateto someone that he trusted.«Since theywere just kids we taught them the busi-ness philosophy that both my wife and Ihad.We shared with them the achieve-ments,crises,trips,and everything wedid.It was essential in order for them tobe able to start to work with us,of theirown will.» So that they understood thecompany,Díaz-Varela sent them twoyears to Hong Kong.«This experiencereally helped them to mature.»THE IMPORTANCE OFPERSONAL RELATIONSThe 80’s were very prolific for the com-pany,which established branches inPortugal,Switzerland,Hong Kong andNorway.One of Díaz-Varela’s maxims is«give the maximum to all my customers,offering them complete service,alwaysanswering all their requests.» Díaz-Varela considers that personal relationshave been essential in his professionalcareer.«Being in contact with the cus-tomer is the key to the success of anybusiness.»Díaz-Varela admits that he has a specialfeeling about his mentor,Mr.Kern.That iswhy he kept his name after the bodyof shareholders disappeared.«It is a wayto thank him for all he did for me.Trustinga 20-year-old was not easy:he did it and Iwill always be grateful to him for it.»«Give the maximumto all my customers,offering themcomplete service,always answering alltheir requests.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOINDUKERN36|37JOSÉ L. DÍAZ-VARELALESSONS LEARNED1. Work,work,and more work.2. The importance of delegatingto someone you trust.3. Business is a marathon,there is no hurry.4. Being in contact with customersis the key to the success of anybusiness.NO SALES,NO SALVATIONJosé L.Díaz-Varela has devoted almostall his life to the company.«I neverbought myself anything.I rented manyyears.» He explains that they startedto distribute dividends just 8 or 9 yearsago.«We have always believed that thiswas a marathon.There was no rush.Weknew that if we worked six days a week,it would pay off.» Above all,he stresses«working,working and keep working.For me it is the first rule of success andsurvival in business.Whims will comeeventually.» Moreover,Díaz-Varela con-siders that businessmen must never bepleased.«Dissatisfaction is a constantmotivator.The wish to improve shouldbe the reason.It is essential in order tokeep on learning each day,to grow.»Grupo Indukern currently has about1,456 employees around the world,including almost 970 working in Spain.Díaz-Varela thinks:«we’ve been able toconnect the spiritual with the material,to dream while keeping our feet on theground, to give incentives and set anexample.» He highlights that «we’veachieved harmony.» He does not thinkof himself as an especially smart man,but he does consider himself «verydetermined, hard-working and respon-sible.This allows you to earn people’srespect.»«Dissatisfactionis a constant motivator.The wish to improveshould be the reason.It is essential in orderto keep on learningeach day, to grow.»1,456people workfor Grupo Indukernworldwide.970employeesin Spain.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSNATURABISSÉ38|39RICARDOFISAS(1929-2012).FOUNDER OF NATURA BISSÉReinventing Yourself at 50Natura Bissé is the leading companyin innovation and development of facialand body cosmetics. The Diamond Collection,with over 300 references in the world,represents 25% of the company’s business.Natura Bissé has subsidiaries in the USA,Mexico, Dubai and the United Kingdom.It is currently present in 25 countries,and 59% of turnover is generated abroad.NATURABISSÉESTABLISHED 1979TURNOVER IN 2011 €36 MEMPLOYEES 230
Ricardo Fisas was born in 1929 andstudied at a Jesuit school,an orderto which he belonged until he was32.His first contact with the workingworld was as an associate in Nestlé’sadvertising department.After workingat a consultancy firm,in 1967 he wasappointed president of the Wrigleychewing-gum company in Spain,aposition he held until 1974.When he was 45 years old,after leavingthe American company Wrigley,Ricardofelt the need to rebuild his life.«I neededa new job.I had been the president of anAmerican company in Spain.I had a goodrésumé and had several options.» Hefinally decided to accept the challengeof re-launching a Catalan companythat was going through a difficult time.He was asked to try to revive it.It was asubsidiary engaged in the hydrolysis ofcollagen and elastin proteins,very usefulto enrich animal feed.In those times,the price of soy was sky-high.When after a while the price of soyreturned to normal,a miracle occurred.«I discovered by chance that the handsof the workers who touched the aminoacids were unusually soft.I assumed atonce that those free natural amino acidsfrom collagen,elastin and keratin couldhave some external cosmetic property.»He decided to ask a chemist friend anda dermatologist to run an effectivenesstest including these hydrolysates in acosmetic cream,in order to know itseffectiveness and behavior.The test wasa big success.«They certified in writingthe surprising results of the test andrecommended that I manufacture andsell the cream with such effective activeingredients,but I didn’t listen to them.»He did not listen to them then,but yearslater those findings would end up beingessential in Ricardo Fisas’s life.He didnot know it yet,but he had come acrossNatura Bissé’s formula,and success.THE FORMULAFOR SUCCESSTime went by and a few years later anunexpected event occurred:the com-pany closed down.«All the executiveswere fired.I signed the settlement ofaccounts and received the correspond-ing compensation on January 17,1979,the same day I turned 50.I had neverimagined that I would end up on the dolequeue,and least of all at 50.I couldn’taccept it.I had to reinvent myself.»In 1979,a terrible crisis struck Spain.Suspensions of payments were rife,companies were closing down,peoplewere being dismissed and unemploy-ment was increasing like never before inSpain.So Fisas decided to take mattersinto his own hands and make a state-ment that he has never forgotten.«LikeScarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind,I swore not to work for other peopleagain and said to myself:With God as mywitness,I’ll never work for other peopleagain.I’ll set up my own company andstart from nothing.» And that is exactlywhat he did.25Countries in whichthe Natura Bissébrand is present.59%of turnover isgenerated abroad.59%GENERATEDABROAD
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSNATURABISSÉ40|41«I had neverimagined that I wouldend up on the dolequeue, and least ofall at 50. I couldn’taccept it. I hadto reinvent myself. »
A NEW PROJECT,LAUNCHED FROM NEEDFisas decided to put into practice hisfriends’advice:to manufacture andmarket cosmetic products.No soonersaid than done.On June 7,1979,the newcompany was incorporated before thenotary.Natura Bissé International wasborn.An uncertain adventure lay ahead.«That day we started this wonderful pro-ject,with courage,passion,enthusiasm,and a great deal of effort.»«We were complete amateurs. We didn’tknow the sector. We started the projectout of sheer necessity.» Given hisignorance about cosmetics, Fisas triedto lean on the best experts in derma-tological and cosmetic chemistry inorder to guarantee the most innovativeformulations. «My obsession was to sellcosmetic products that worked, thatreally achieved what they were meantto achieve.»EXTENSION OFTHE SALES NETWORKThe 80’s was the decade for imple-menting the brand and selling it onthe Spanish market.These were veryimportant years,during which NaturaBissé developed all its products basedon different skin needs.Fisas’s wife,Maria Gloria,was in charge of commer-cial management,and in a few monthsshe set up a wide sales and distributionnetwork.«Just a few years later we hadquite a respectable customer portfolio.»But Ricardo remembers that one of hismain worries was to know,beforehand,whether the clients were solvent.«Noproduct came out if we hadn’t firstreceived the money.»At present,only in Spain,more than5,000 beauticiansuse and sell ourtreatments.HIGHLIGHT
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSNATURABISSÉ42|43Natura Bissé sold only five top-qualityfacial creams.«We sold them at a price40% more expensive than our competi-tors.We were different in everything:packaging,high-tech products,and anappropriate and elegant approach.»The Natura Bissé brand is trusted andadmired.«Each year we sold more thanthe one before.We were flying high.»The commercial action chosen by NaturaBissé was the beauty salon channel.«We didn’t have the financial capacityto devise an advertising campaign togenerate demand.We preferred to takeit slowly,but safely.» Each beautician ina beauty salon became a promoter anda saleswoman for the brand.«We didthe right thing.Nowadays,only in Spain,we have over 5,000 beauticians who useand sell our treatments.» Natura Bissé’sreputation spread rapidly.The custom-ers were very pleased.«We made it sothat people stopped them on the streetto ask them what procedure had theyundergone.» Natura Bissé was becom-ing one of the most sought-after brands.Over a short period of time,NaturaBissé positioned its cosmetic productsamong the most exclusive brands inglobal cosmetics.Its dazzling successon such a competitive market has beenstudied in prestigious universities,whichhave analyzed its quality,effectiveness,innovation,packaging and its marketing,too,as factors in its success.DISTRIBUTION TO THE MOSTEXCLUSIVE STORESThanks to one of its major products,Glyco Peeling,in 1995 Natura Bissébegan to market its products in the mostprestigious cosmetic department storesin the USA.Neiman Marcus (who recom-mended that they include the «Barcelo-na» brand under «Natura Bissé» in theirproducts),Bergdorf Goodman and Bar-neys New York;and the opening in Dallasof a subsidiary were the first steps takenoverseas.The shock wave of its successin the USA spread to other countriesand the brand started to be increasinglydistributed to the most exclusive stores.Ricardo Fisas had managed to placeNatura Bissé among the best.Fisas remembers that 2001 was a veryspecial year.He received a phone callfrom the British embassy in Madrid ask-ing for information about the companybecause Harrods department storeswere interested in stocking NaturaBissé’s products.The shock wave causedby the success of sales in the USA hadreached London,and American touristswere asking for Natura Bissé.Moreover,the line of products they offered wasvery complete,top-quality,and wasconsidered an emerging and desiredbrand.Fisas admits that:«Mrs.Al Fayed,owner of Harrods,bought our productsin New York and wanted to have them inher store.»«My obsession wasto sell cosmeticproducts that worked,that really achievedwhat they were meantto achieve.»
Fisas recalls that «when we enteredHarrods,there was no room for us inthe White Hall,where the big cosmeticbrands were.They put us in the BeautyApothecary Room,a secondary area nextto the White Hall.We were told that if wemet the sales budget they would moveus.» And so it was.Six months later,tak-ing advantage of the remodeling of theWhite Hall,they were moved and placednext to the big brands.On the openingday,October 31,2002,the Beauty andFashion Manager said something thathad a profound impact on Ricardo andhis wife:«‘Here are the 26 most impor-tant cosmetic companies in the worldtoday.’It was really exciting.»A few years later,when the brand hadbecome a leader,fully established in ahighly competitive market that had longbeen dominated by the major compa-nies,Natura Bissé began to be stars’cosmetics range of choice.Julia Robertsis amongst them,and she «can’t stopusing our products.»But they didn’t only make their way ontothe American market—in September2006,they established themselves inthe Near East.The company slowlyconsolidated its position in the region,both in the professional cosmeticmarket and in sales to the public.NaturaBissé partnered up with both the mostexclusive hotel chains and the most se-lect,prestigious department stores.Thebrand became positioned as one of themost luxurious on the market,for bothquality and results.THE NEW GENERATIONTAKES OVEROne of the key years in the history ofNatura Bissé was 2008.Once the com-pany had become firmly established,Ricardo Fisas considered it was time forhis children to take over.After 29 years incharge of the company,he appointed hisdaughter Verónica Fisas Vergés manag-ing director and CEO of Natura Bissé.«It was a decision that I didn’t makeon my own.I told my children to shutthemselves up in a hotel and choose theperson who would be in the limelightof business news.» They finally choseVerónica,leader of the second genera-tion of the family.She had the support ofa consolidated brand name,a referenceto be taken into account on the globalcosmetic market,and a team of profes-sionals devoted to consolidating itsposition in the industry.«I have alwaysbeen lucky to know how to surround my-self with great professionals,and in theend this has been the key to the successof Natura Bissé.»Many Hollywoodstars are fansof Natura Bissé.These includeJulia Roberts,whocan’t stop usingtheir products.HIGHLIGHT«I have always beenlucky to know how tosurround myself withgreat professionals, andin the end this has beenthe key to the successof Natura Bissé.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSNATURABISSÉ44|45Today,Ricardo Fisas is the president ofthe company’s Board of Directors.He isnot involved in the company’s day-to-dayrunning.«I decided to retire and I haveabsolute confidence in my children.»Together with his wife,whom he consid-ers «one of the main keys to the successof Natura Bissé,» he has created theRicardo Fisas Foundation,engaged insocial projects.«Maria Gloria was theperson who kept our feet on the ground.She has been essential,providing anindispensable balance to the company.»To leave a mark of his life history,Ricardodecided to write the book Pinceladas deuna vida.All profits from the autobio-graphical sketch,which he wrote in justthree months,go to his foundation.Ricardo Fisas died in a traffic accidenton 21January 2012 at the age of 83.Hischildren,Verónica,Patricia,Ricardo andJesús,remain at the helm of a companypresent in more than 30 countries whoseproduction is concentrated at the VallèsTechnology Park in Catalonia.RICARDO FISASLESSONS LEARNED1. Surround yourself by topprofessionals.2. Establish a clear strategyand an appropriate distributionchannel.3. Be different in everything:packaging,high-techproduct,appropriate and elegantapproach.4. The importance of the«Barcelona» brand.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSHAVASMEDIA46|47LEOPOLDORODÉSFOUNDER OFTIEMPO AND MEDIA PLANNING,AND PRESIDENTOF HAVAS MEDIAAdvertising PersonifiedHavas Media, a leading global media groupin the European and Latin American markets,forms part of Havas, one of the largestadvertising and communications groupsworldwide. Present in more than 100 markets,the Havas group has more than 1,000 clientsand 4,500 employees. Havas Media analysesthe connection between brands and our senseof wellbeing and quality of life through thestudy “Meaningful Brands for a SustainableFuture”, based on the views of more than300 brands reported by over 50,000 consumersin 14 different countries.HAVAS MEDIAESTABLISHED 1978(MEDIA PLANNING)TURNOVERIN2011€ 11,000 MEMPLOYEES 4,500
Leopoldo Rodés is,without a doubt,one of the big names in advertising inSpain.He was one of the first peopleto realize that an intermediary wasneeded between big brands and themedia.Rodés started to work in thefilm industry.His mother’s familyowned cinemas in Barcelona and heworked in the business and studied atthe same time.It was his first paid job.Among other things,he was in chargeof the movies’advertising,and so hebecame interested in the sector.«That’s when I realized that advertisingcould be promising.» Without hesita-tion and together with his college friendJosé Carlos Iriarte,he set up the agencyTiempo.«We had an office not biggerthan 15 square meters on Tuset Street.Advertising back then had nothing to dowith advertising nowadays.We startedfrom nothing and there were only threeof us,» he remembers.Without much experience in the in-dustry, they started to look for clients.«Advertising back then was limited tohaving someone who could draw andpeople with ideas. Besides, I knewabout film. Movies had to be advertisedand someone had to think of what tosay about them. Besides, the meanswere the same. Campaigns consistedonly of one page, half a page or aquarter of a page in La Vanguardia, orABC. Everything was done by eye. Notmuch knowledge or experience wasneeded.» Rodés remembers their firstclients perfectly. Sound equipment,some shirts... until the first big accountcame along:Freixenet. «Back then theysold a million bottles. Now they sell over220 million.» Rodés was involved in theday-to-day activities of Tiempo until hesold the agency to BBDO.«We had an office notbigger than 15 squaremeters. Advertisingback then hadnothing to do withadvertising nowadays.We started fromnothing and therewere only three of us.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSHAVASMEDIA48|49«The advertising industryis complicated. You have to havea strong heart in this business;you cannot suffer from any heartcondition because you get startledall the time.»
THE BIRTH OF MEDIAPLANNINGBut the chapter on company estab-lishment does not end here, quite theopposite. In 1978 Rodés set up his bigagency, Media Planning. «I came up withthe idea because I detected that therewere two big professional groups in ad-vertising agencies:the creative peopleand the media.» He admits that thesetwo groups were at odds with eachother and that is why he decided to setup an agency that would be exclusivelyengaged in the media.The first thinghe did was to tell his partners at BBDOabout it. His boss at a European level,Klaus Wendler, said it made no sense.BBDO did not want to get involved inthe operation and Rodés asked for theirpermission to set up Media Planning onhis own. He recalls that his very goodfriend and then president of BBDOBruce Crawford reminds him aboutthis decision, which time has proven tobe wrong. «The mistake wasn’t that wedidn’t set up Media Planning together,but that we failed to see that the adver-tising industry was heading towards theexistence of media-specialized compa-nies.» What Rodés was seeking was tospeak directly with the advertiser, to bea direct intermediary between brandsand the media.The beginnings of Media Planningwere really strong.They won three veryimportant clients that Rodés remembersperfectly:Nestlé,Philips and El CorteInglés.«We were very lucky to start offwith them because they gave us thebusiness volume we needed.The volumewas important to get better conditionswith the media and provide a newly-borncompany with more resources.»They were soon leaders in Spain,Portugal and Mexico.They had madeincursions into the Argentinean and Co-lombian markets, and their dominancedid not go unnoticed by major commu-nication groups. First they merged withHavas media company, Mediapolis, inwhich they retained the majority andwhose headquarters stayed in Spain.The next step was the merger with theHavas Group itself. «We did not want tosell, but establish an association.»«The volumewas importantto get betterconditions withthe media andprovide a newly-borncompany with moreresources.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSHAVASMEDIA50|51LEOPOLDO RODÉSLESSONS LEARNED1. Nobody is irreplaceable.2. Being present internationallyand in many marketsis essential to overcomedelicate situations.3. Volume is important in orderVolume is important in orderVto get better conditions.THE GREAT MERGERWITH HAVASThe merger was sealed in 2001 andRodés feels that the outcome has beenvery positive.The control of the companyremained in Spain.Fernando,one ofhis five children,is the Vice Presidentof Havas Group,and Alfonso,anotherof his sons,is CEO of Havas Media andDeputy CEO of Havas.Leopoldo admitsthat:«neither of them was hired by me.Fernando was taken on by José MartínezRovira,founding partner of Media Plan-ning and current global vice-presidentof Havas Media.It was his decision.ThenAlfonso was hired by his brother.Both ofthem were working in the finance sectorbefore that.»Havas Media is now growing at a fasterpace than the rest of the Group.Even so,Rodés regrets that «advertising is goingthrough unfavorable times,but since weare present in more than 100 countries,delicate situations compensate eachother.» In this regard,Rodés admitsthat the diversification of markets andproducts is essential for getting arounddelicate economic circumstances.«Theadvertising industry is complicated.You have to have a strong heart in thisbusiness;you cannot suffer from anyheart condition because you get startledall the time.Even so,I owe it everything Iam.I started there and there I stay.»NOBODY ISIRREPLACEABLEOne of Leopoldo Rodés’s major achieve-ments is his involvement in the bid forthe 1992 Summer Olympics to be held inBarcelona.He devised one of the mostimportant campaigns in public relationsever,which enjoyed enormous success.«Samaranch told me that the bid wasnot being appropriately managed.Theyneeded to convince the members ofthe International Olympic Committee.»Rodés became so involved in the projectthat he even quit all his professionalactivity in the agency for a year and ninemonths.«In my absence,Media Planningachieved the best results of its historyuntil then,which was satisfactory,butalso disturbing.I still was very youngthen and was shown that nobody is ir-replaceable.»HIGHLIGHTThe diversificationof markets andproducts is essentialfor overcomingdelicate economiccircumstances.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPRONOVIAS52|53ALBERTOPALATCHIFOUNDER AND PRESIDENTOF GRUPO PRONOVIASThe Ability to Create TrendsPronovias was born as a family business,which has become a leading companyin bridal fashion. The founding family stillmanages the group and its expansion process,thus passing on its philosophy of qualityand design. Every year, Pronovias designs850 new models of wedding gowns andevening and cocktail dresses, distributedthrough its 3,800 points of sale in 90 countriesaround the world and 150 stores in Spain,either company-owned or franchises.GRUPOPRONOVIASESTABLISHED 1922TURNOVER IN 2011 €179 MEMPLOYEES 738
Alberto Palatchi is the current presidentof Grupo Pronovias,a company thatdresses brides from 90 countries.In order to get to the top,Palatchi hasgone through all the stages of thecreation of a company.The beginningsof Pronovias go back to the 20’s.Alberto’s father had started to selllace edging in Barcelona,and he wasslowly making a name for himself inthe dressmaking industry.He set upthe store El Suizo («The Swiss») onCondal Street,where he sold lace andfabrics for brides.Palatchi mentionsthat people called him «the Swiss man»because he always said that he wasfrom Switzerland.If he revealed his trueTurkish origin,he did not sell a thing.In 1960,Pronovias started to open stores,and was the pioneer of prêt-a-porterwedding dresses.He moved from a greenmarket to a very ripe one in only eightyears.This is when young Alberto cameon scene.Only 18 years old and a fresh-man in Law School,he decided to join thefamily business and start to look for waysto get ahead with a company whose di-rection was not very clear.«Three monthslater we were leading the market.»The first thing he did was look for a goodproduct.«We didn’t have anything andI bought a French license for weddingdresses.We didn’t have any orders ormarket,or anything at all.» Then Palatchithought that the best thing would befor the stores selling the most weddingdresses in each province to market hisproduct.«That’s how we would becomeleaders in Spain.» He was right.Palatchiwent out to sell with an idea for thefuture.«I told them that the future ofwedding dresses was to be found inspecialized stores that needed to beopened.» The reasons,but especially«passion and enthusiasm for the pro-ject» were enough.That is how Pronoviaswas born,along with a concept that didnot exist back then:the franchise.LEARNINGAND GROWTHThe young entrepreneur visited the 90most successful stores and convincedthem of his strategy.«I didn’t even bringthe product with me.Just a one-pagecontract with three points:we gave themexclusive rights,they undertook to buythe product only from us,and we wouldhelp them with everything in return.»He had started a business,but now hehad to set up a company,and he wouldeagerly strive to do so.Palatchi says that as years went by «wegrew and learned at the same time.» Thelate 60’s and early 70’s were «a happyand fruitful time for business.Everythingworked out,if it was reasonable,» headmits.For the first ten years,he wasengaged solely in laying the foundationsof Pronovias:«Setting up the companyand the industry.» Back then,his marketwas made up of a few million people,even though his gaze was set only onSpain.His public was modest,some-thing he is proud of.«We gave womenthe chance to get married in a weddingdress,when otherwise they wouldn’thave been able to.»850new modelsof wedding gownsand evening dressesdesigned every year.3,800sales points.90countries wherePronovias is present.«We gave women thechance to get married ina wedding dress, whenotherwise they wouldn’thave been able to.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPRONOVIAS54|55lems arose.Production kept increasingand we had to use outside workshops.Palatchi learned that the Americans hadlong been manufacturing in China.Hedid not back down,and decided to flyto Asia in search of outside workshops.«The Chinese already knew how to sew.The grounds were there.We were ableto conceive of the business in a wholedifferent way.We had the chance to haveunlimited production.» They found thefirst partners in Asia,who are still work-ing for Pronovias today.«When we begina relationship with someone,we do it forgood.We create a bond that people cansee in the finished product.»Palatchi thinks that one of the keys toPronovias’ success is that «we havealways been one step ahead of ourcompetitors. We know how to makea good product and we are great atdistributing it.» Moreover, he declares:«the person commanding the ship mustbe a ‘product man’. He must understandwhat the company is selling and hemust be the best. Because no one isinterested in your story. What matters iswhat you sell.»EXPORTINGTO EUROPEBut in the 80’s Spain suffered a terriblecrisis.Palatchi,far from throwing in thetowel,looked outside.«I had no choicebut to look beyond our borders.» And heset himself a goal:exporting to Eu-rope.He ordered receptionists to passhim over any phone call from abroad.Finally,he received a call from a Dutchwoman who sounded very interestedin the dresses.First,they sent a fewfor her to sell in the Netherlands.Afew weeks later,she placed an orderfor 500 dresses more.«It was the firststep towards going international.» Theystarted to set up subsidiaries in France,England,Germany and Italy.«Our naturalmarket no longer consisted of 30,butrather 300 million people.» Palatchithinks that over the course of his profes-sional life,he could have gone faster.«Ididn’t have time to study,but I’ve becomea really self-taught person over theyears.»In the late 80’s,the first prob-
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPRONOVIAS56|57A LUXURYCONSUMER BRANDThe company’s first incursions into theAsian market opened the doors to theNorth American market.Its 300 millionpotential consumers doubled.Thosewere times in which the market grew,while the company experienced majorchanges.«We changed every year andaligned ourselves more with fashion andluxury.We linked our brand to positivethings,designers such as Valentino,orwell-to-do people’s weddings.» Prono-vias started being a mass-consumptionbrand and over the years it changedits focus to luxury.From the bottom up.«It’s the hardest path,but we’ve strivedto bring the Pronovias name to wherewe wanted it to be.» One of the keys toachieving this has been communication,especially online.«Around two millionpeople visit our website each month.This generates an overwhelming tradefor us.The image of our brands spreadsdaily throughout the world.» Moreover,opinion leaders are on their side.ButPalatchi points out that «above all,ourcustomers value us for our product.Weoffer them quality,good prices and agreat service.»SPREADING YOURENTHUSIASMTO COLLABORATORSAlberto Palatchi considers that Prono-vias’success belongs to the whole teamof people who work for the company.«The basis of any businesses must beenthusiasm,energy.This is how you passon positive values that stick to the DNAof the brand and the team.From thevery first day we wanted to convey love,enthusiasm,warmth and soul.Peoplecan tell that in the end.» But this doesnot apply only to the in-house staff.«AllPronovias’collaborators have alwaysperceived passion,never indifference.We’ve managed to get people excitedabout us.» He thinks that this is one ofthe obligations of a businessman.«Wemust convey energy.» Palatchi is proudof the team he has put together.He feelslucky because in these 40 years «thecompany has always had really goodprofessionals.» He has placed such trustin his people that he would now be ableto step away from the company’s day-to-day running.«I do feel I could do it now.I don’t want to,but I will slowly cut downmy executive responsibility until I havenone,and delegate it to younger,betterqualified people.»«Around two millionpeople visit ourwebsite each month.This generates anoverwhelming tradefor us. The image of ourbrands spreads dailythroughout the world.»HIGHLIGHTPronovias startedout as an economybrand,but overthe years its focusturned to the luxurymarket.
LOOKING TOWARDSTO THE FUTUREFor the moment,he still has loads ofenergy,and Pronovias expects to growat a fast pace these coming years.Overthe next four years they are planning toincrease the number of stores from 150to 400 around the world.«They alreadyhave a name,a surname and a location.We have structured it all.We are going allout for Latin America,specifically Mexicoand Brazil,and countries such asJapan,Korea and Iran.» Palatchi considers thelatter very important.As for Europe andthe USA,the growth rate must not comeinto conflict with Pronovias’customers.«We must analyze this situation withthem,make our moves and try not tostagnate.» As for wholesale distributionto multi-brand wedding dress stores,Pronovias wants to increase its numberof sales points from 3,800 in 90 countriesto 8,000 in 110 countries.«It is an excitingchallenge.»They also plan to diversify pro-duction.Plans are afoot to create a newdistribution channel for their evening andcocktail dress collections in thousandsof fashion stores –not wedding dressstores– around the world.IT ALL PAYS OFFIN THE ENDThe path to success in business isnot smooth.Palatchi symbolizes thearchetype of the businessman who hasbuilt his small empire from nothing.He advises young entrepreneurs to be«persistent,determined and very ambi-tious.» «People must know that they willpay a price that in the end pays off.But itis a price to be paid every day.» He alsohighlights the importance of having aconservative attitude towards everythingrelated to investments.«A businessmust be financed with profits.If peoplewant to risk money,they should risk theirown,not the bank’s.» One thing is clear:ifthe project is feasible «you have to try.»The most essential part of a businessis to find its raison d’être.Once you’vefound it,the rest comes easily.«The keyis never to stop.Sometimes I had to gotoo slowly because of unresolved inter-nal challenges.And that is never good.»QUALITYAND DESIGNThe founding family is still managing thecompany,with Alberto as the presidentof the Group and at the head of itsexpansion,passing on the philosophy ofquality and design that characterizes hiswork.This concept is spread throughoutthe 150 stores and 3,800 sales points inthe 90 countries where its brands andproducts can be found.The group now has an internationalteam of 738 employees from more than40 different countries.HIGHLIGHTOver the next fouryears,the numberof Pronovias storesis set to increasefrom 150 to 400around the world.20112015150STORES400STORES
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSGRUPOPRONOVIAS58|59ALBERTO PALATCHILESSONS LEARNED1. Itisnecessarytobeexpertinwhatyousell,andbethebest.2. One of the obligations of a busi-nessman is to motivate peopleand convey energy.3. When we start a relationshipwith someone,it is for forever.4.You must be self-taught.5. A business must be financed bythe profits it generates.CREATINGTRENDSMore than 70 people,under the inspira-tion of Pronovias’creative director,Ma-nuel Mota,design around 850 differentmodels of wedding gowns and eveningand cocktail dresses every year,as wellas more than 2,000 accessories for allthe brands of the Group.The design,modeling and pattern-making teams,located in the company’s head office inBarcelona,constantly receive all the in-formation regarding the market,directlyfrom its international store chains andcustomers,and are always innovating inthe manufacture of the most impor-tant collection of wedding fashion inthe world.This ability to innovate andset trends that has distinguished theGroup’s products internationally is one ofthe company’s mainstays.The company’s operation centeris located in El Prat de Llobregat,just a few kilometers from Barce-lona.These premises are formed by a50,000-square-meter complex of build-ings, where the entire creation processis carried out, from cutting, dressmak-ing and finishing to quality control ofdresses and accessories.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSEXPOHOTELESRESORTS60|61ANTONIOMESTREFOUNDER OF EXPO HOTELES RESORTSFrom Carpenter to HotelierExpo Hoteles Resorts is the leadingcompany in exclusive and large-capacityhotels, and offers extensive experiencein organizing meetings, incentivesand congresses. The firm manages over2,800 rooms in 8 hotels in Spain, includingthe well-known Princesa Sofía andTorre Catalunya.EXPO HOTELES RESORTSESTABLISHED 1976TURNOVER IN 2011 €113 MEMPLOYEES 1,700
Antonio Mestre started as a carpenterin a small family business.He was only16 when he finished his commercialexpertise studies and decided to startworking.His father was not interestedin the economic side of the businessor the financial side of the workshop,quite the opposite of Antonio.The firstthing he did was to learn the trade.He did so quickly,then immediatelyfocused on the commercial andfinancial side of the business.He beganto study the books of the workshopand realized that his father’s partnerwas swindling him.They decided todo without him and he sold them hisshare.«We needed to go out and sell.»Every day,Mestre visited the buildingsites in the city to offer the workshop’sservices.Business began to go well.The small family business became themost important carpentry workshopin Tarragona,which employed around12 workers.Antonio Mestre was an entrepreneurand one day he felt that he needed tobroaden his horizons.«The city was toosmall for me.I wanted to leave and startup my own business.» He decided onSpanish Morocco.«People there weredetermined and hard-working,twoqualities that I valued above all.» Mestreleft when he was 22,the same day thathe married Conchita.They settled inTetouan and set up a carpentry andmetallurgy factory.In just a few years hewas earning a good living and was ableto open two branches,one in Tangier andthe other in Casablanca.OVERCOMING THE MOSTDIFFICULT SITUATIONSBut happiness did not last long.Oneyear after their arrival,a terrorist at-tack in Tangier thwarted their plans.The economy of the country came toa standstill and the factory ceased tomake a profit.«It was a severe setback.At 24 and with my wife pregnant withour first son,I saw our hopes for wealthand prosperity shattered.» Then Antoniodecided that his wife should return toTarragona and he himself stayed on tosolve all the company’s problems.Whilehe was there,two important events inAntonio’s life occurred.His father died atthe early age of 52,and his son was born.When he came back from Tetouan,hisson was 8 months old.A very difficult time began for Antonioand his family.«I had left three yearsbefore as a hard-working and active manthat people respected.When I returned,I was a failure,just another one of thosepeople who tried their luck abroad andcame back empty-handed.» Far fromgoing to pieces,Antonio decided to startover again.He moved to Barcelona.Hisability for what he calls «self-genera-tion» helped him through.He found a jobin a carpenter’s workshop.He sent halfhis salary to his wife and son,and usedthe rest to pay for train tickets to visit hisfamily.«I hardly ate.I starved and lost 20kilos.» After a while,he got a stable joband became the manager of a leadingcarpentry workshop.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSEXPOHOTELESRESORTS62|63His determination to make progress pro-fessionally and be able to pay the renton a flat in Barcelona so that his familycould come and live with him made himaccept the proposal of an acquaintancein Tarragona.He offered him to be thesales representative of a metallurgicworkshop for a percentage of the sales.«I bought a motorbike on installmentsand on Saturdays I visited one buildingsite after the other offering them theservices of the company I represented.»The confidence that he inspired in hiscustomers earned him a good living andallowed him to turn around what was avery tricky situation.STARTING OVER AGAIN,ALONEAfter a while,the owner of the workshopin Tarragona became swamped by theorders that Antonio was getting him,andcould not serve all the products from hissmall workshop.«I thought that I knewthe market well enough to produce someof the orders on my own.» His chancecame along when he received an impor-tant order.He left the workshop and saidhe would never come back.«I saw theopportunity and didn’t want to miss it.I didn’t know the industry,but I thoughtthat if others had done it,then I couldvery well try.» He judges now that it wasthe right decision.«It was the key to thebusiness successes that followed.»MARKETSATURATIONThe company grew and grew.Antoniowas able to bring his family to live withhim in Barcelona.A few years later,they moved to the Pedralbes district.Business went well enough for himto purchase industrial premises andnew machinery enabling him to supplyquality products faster.Five years later,Antonio’s instinct led him to see that thebusiness was going to end.«The marketstarted to show signs of saturation.»He sold his share to a partner who hadjoined him,and three years later thecompany closed down.«I saw the opportunityand didn’t wantto miss it. I didn’t knowthe industry, butI thought that if othershad done it, then I couldvery well try.»HIGHLIGHTIn 2010,the Govern-ment of the CanaryIslands recognizedAntonio Mestre’soutstanding profes-sional careerby awarding himthe TenerifeTourism Prize.
A FORWARD-LOOKINGAPPROACH«I felt like changing,searching for newways.I saw that the real estate marketwas on the increase,and with the profitsI got from selling the workshop I starteda new venture:I became a propertydeveloper.» He began to build,sell andinvest again.«In ten years,I built morethan 6,000 apartments in Barcelona.»Mestre remembers that this professionentailed significant personal sacrifices.«I always worked long hours,but neveras many as back then when I was adeveloper.Prosperity lasted until 1974.Then the Spanish economy began toshow signs of recession and because ofthe high inflation rate when developerssold their apartments,money had deval-ued so much that they could not affordto buy new building land.«The businesswas disappearing.I had to look for newoptions and start over again.»Antonio decided not to make a radicalchange.He stayed in the industry,butnow he built flats to rent.«I would nolonger be a developer;I would investin something that would increase thevalue of the building I had erected.» Heexchanged some land in front of Santstrain station to make an office build-ing and a hotel.In 1976 he built his firsthotel:Expo Hotel Barcelona.AntonioMestre’s true vocation begins here.A HOTELIERBY TRADEMestre started to study his new industry.He realized that in order to supervisehotels personally,the most advisablething was to build a few large hotels.And that is what he did.When his firsthotel began to work well,he was askedto build another one in Valencia.He ac-cepted and built the Expo Hotel Valencia,a big building in the Nuevo Centro area,an important commercial district.AfterBarcelona and Valencia came Tenerife.He was offered some land to build alarge hotel complex.Mestre thought itwas an interesting deal and accepted.He started to build the Complejo MareNostrum Resort,one of the first hotelson the island and currently one of thelargest complexes in Europe,with fivehotels and an auditorium seating 1,876.The complex was built in just eightdizzying years. In 1988, in Playa de lasAméricas (Arona), the MediterraneanPalace was inaugurated. The followingyear, on the coast, the hotel Sir Antho-ny opened its doors. Between 1996 and1997 the Cleopatra Palace, Julio CésarPalace and Marco Antonio Palace wereopened, with almost 200 rooms eachand built around an original Romanswimming pool. In 1996 the Pyramid ofArona was also inaugurated, a spec-tacular building that holds one of thelargest auditoriums in Europe.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSEXPOHOTELESRESORTS64|65HIGHLIGHTWhen his first hotelbegan to work well,he was asked tobuild another onein Valencia. Heaccepted and builtthe Expo HotelValencia, a largeestablishment inthe Nuevo Centroarea, an importantcommercial district.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSEXPOHOTELESRESORTS66|67ANTONIO MESTRELESSONS LEARNED1. Look out for all the opportunitiesthat may come along,but alsofor signs of risk,recession andsaturation.2. If you fail,don’t be afraid to startover again.3. Believe in yourselfand in your ability to do thingswell,even if you don’t knowthe industry deeply.4. Look for the formula for success–for example,manage just a fewhotels,but large ones.THE PURCHASE OF THEPRINCESA SOFIABut the expansion process took placeon the mainland as well.Towards theend of October 2003,the group acquiredthe emblematic Hotel Princesa Sofía.«We saw it was for sale and after think-ing about it with our collaborators,wedecided that it was a unique opportu-nity.» Mestre remembers that he wasinterviewed in La Vanguardia and thatthe title of the article was «The GreatUnknown Who Bought the PrincesaSofía.» A year later,in October 2004,theyopened a new hotel in Barcelona,theGran Hotel Torre Catalunya.And thus,he transformed his first office buildingbuilt in the 70’s into a high-class hotel.He made his last acquisition in Juneof 2006.«We bought the exclusive DonCarlos Resort Leisure SPA.With thisincorporation,we have 10 hotels in fourSpanish cities (Barcelona,Valencia,Tenerife and Marbella),and employ morethan 1,500 people.»The Government of the Canary Islandsrecognized Antonio Mestre’s outstandingprofessional career by awarding him the2010 Tenerife Tourism Prize.«We bought the exclu-sive Don Carlos Resort Leisure SPA. Withthis incorporation,we have 10 hotels infour Spanish cities(Barcelona, Valencia,Tenerife and Marbella),and employ more than1,500 people.»HIGHLIGHTIn late-October 2003,the group acquiredthe emblematicHotel Princesa Sofía.
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSFLUIDRA68|69ELOIPLANESCEO OF FLUIDRAObsession withInternationalizationFluidra is a company that has had a clearinternational vocation from the start.In 1969, Joan Planes, together with threepartners, started up a company that hasbecome one of the Spanish industrial groupswith the greatest international standing.Three years after its incorporation, the firmbegan to export. In 1974, the first subsidiarywas set up in France, and two years later cameanother, this time in Italy. Fluidra currentlyhas around 3,700 employees and is presentin 41 countries on 5 continents.FLUIDRAESTABLISHED 1969TURNOVER IN 2011 €624 MEMPLOYEES 3,700
Fluidra is a company that has had aclear international vocation from theoutset.In 1969,Joan Planes,togetherwith three partners,started up acompany that has since become oneof the Spanish industrial groups withthe greatest international standing.Its specialty is very clear:solutionsfor swimming pools,irrigation,watertreatment,and fluid handling.Threeyears after its incorporation,the firmbegan to export.In 1974,the firstsubsidiary was set up in France,andthis was followed by another,in Italy,two years later.To get this far,Fluidra has gone throughmany phases,most of them led by EloiPlanes.He currently is the company’sCEO,but he began in the RD depart-ment.«My father tricked me.I wasn’tinterested in working in the family busi-ness at all,but he knew how to capturemy interest,thanks to a Renault 4.» Eloiwanted one very badly,and his fathertold him that the best way to be ableto afford it was to work some hours inhis company.«I didn’t think twice,andwithout knowing quite how,I was soonstarting to take on responsibilities.»He took his first steps in Fluidra next tothe person who he considers to be his«main mentor.» Antonio Llastarri washis father’s right hand man,and he wasalways by his side,guiding him in everydecision.«I always say that I was luckyto work with Antonio.Otherwise maybeI wouldn’t have lasted that long in thecompany.» Eloi Planes joined the firmwhen he was only 25 years old.Over theyears his responsibility increased.Eloiconfesses that,«At 28,I was completelyin love with Fluidra.I felt it to be mineand that we were going through sweettimes for moving ahead.» The dynamismof the industry led the company to growspectacularly.«We were evolving at avertiginous pace and that motivated meeven more.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSFLUIDRA70|71LIVING FORTHE COMPANYFluidra became a part of his life and hisinvolvement grew deeper every day.«Itis the basis of any business;we needto have people ready to live for thecompany,committed people.That’s whatdistinguishes us from other companies.»Fluidra has always taken good care ofits partners and investors.In this regard,Planes defines the group Fluidra as a«sum of small companies with deeplyenterprising people in charge.»In five years, Fluidraincreased turnoverfrom 200 million eurosto 650 million. «We feltwe were going at warpspeed, but the companywas getting strongerall the time.»With 3,700employees,Fluidrais currently presentin 41 countries onthe five continents.HIGHLIGHT
PICKING UPSPEEDIn 2002 he took all the group companiesand led their international expansionuntil reaching the current size. «Thegrowth rate of the company was spec-tacular. We grew and made small acqui-sitions at the same time, without losingour partners.» First, they focused on theEuropean market, and then, without abreak, they entered the world market.This expansion coincided with productdiversification. «New business lines,but with the same model as always.» Infive years, Fluidra increased turnoverfrom 200 million euros to 650 million.«We felt we were going at warp speed,but the company was getting strongerall the time.»THE IMPORTANCEOF THE PARTNERSThe partners were a very important partof Fluidra’s structure.«Finding the rightpartner,having an idea,managing itappropriately and,above all,feeling pas-sion for the project is essential for thesuccess of the project.» Besides,Planespoints out three major indispensableelements in order to go internationalsuccessfully.First of all,«stepping ontothe market,knowing the sector you wantto establish yourself in thoroughly.»Secondly,«knowing the people involvedvery well and having a lot of contactwith them and their families.» Finally,choosing the right moment.«We becomeestablished in a very natural way,theprocess usually takes us around twoyears.» He considers that «the key togoing international is to adapt yourselfas much as possible to the lifestyle ofthe market you want to enter,being fromthere.In Seville we are Andalusian;inAustralia,Australian.We are very flex-ible,but not only in theory;we pack ourthings and… hit the road.» He admitsthat «you have to travel around and notsettle for the first thing you see.»69%Swimming pools.17%Water treatment.8%Fluid handling.6%Irrigation.Fluidra’s salesby business unit.HIGHLIGHT
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSFLUIDRA72|73ELOI PLANESLESSONS LEARNED1. Work with committedpeople who live forthe company.2. The keys to goinginternational are:• Stepping into and knowingthe market very well beforeimplementation.• Knowing the people involvedvery well.• Choosing the right moment.GOING PUBLIC AND CRISISON THE HORIZON2006 was a very important year for thecompany.It was time to find out «whatwe wanted to do and how far we werewilling to go.» Banco Sabadell hadentered the Board of Directors.«It wasa good moment to take a step forward.»They decided to go public.«It was a deci-sion we made together.My father gaveme some very good advice.He told methat it wasn’t my decision to make.Hetold me that we had to reach a conclu-sion together.» And they did;in 2007,Fluidra started to quote on the stockexchange.For Eloi this step «was oneof the nicest I’ve experienced;it’s veryenriching.»One year after going public,Fluidrabegan to feel the first symptoms of thecrisis.«Sales started to drop and wethought that everything we had builtwould fall down like a house of cards.»In this discouraging situation,Planesconfesses that they had two big strokesof luck.The first one was having a veryprofessional Board of Directors.«Theywarned us that the situation wouldget worse and that we had to adaptourselves to a new reality.The secondstroke of luck was that we knew how toalign our 100 main executives,and theGroup responded really favorably.Theyunderstood the situation and acceptedour decisions.» It was a difficult year,but in 2010 Fluidra started to see thelight.«We withstood and now we keeplooking forward.Fluidra is a solid,pow-erful,integrated company with its ownRD,manufacturing,and distributionnetwork,and ours is an industry of thefuture:sustainable water use.»«We withstood andnow we keep lookingforward. Fluidra is asolid, powerful, inte-grated company withits own RD, manufac-turing, and distributionnetwork, and ours is anindustry of the future:sustainable water use.»
LEADINGENTERPRISESANDENTREPRENEURSMANGO74|75ISAKANDICFOUNDER AND PRESIDENTOF MANGOThe Virtue of Seeing the FutureMango is one of the largest exportingcompanies in the European textile industry.It has more than 2,500 points of sale in108 countries, and classifies and distributes30,000 articles of clothing per hour. In 2011,the group opened more than 700 points ofsale around the world. Nowadays, Mangoremains in hands of its founders, executivesand employees; the firm belongs, therefore,to the people who are directly involved in it.MANGOESTABLISHED 1984TURNOVER IN 2011 €1,408MEMPLOYEES 11,000