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The global fashion business journal

Jul 17, 202411:40am

Who is Carlos Crespo, the new Inditex’s strongman?

The new Zara’s parent company CEO has a large path within the company, key to convince the “old guard”, as well as transversal knowledge of the Spanish multinational company.

May 24, 2019 — 11:30am
Pilar Riaño / Iria P. Gestal
Related topics

Inditex's new CEO Pablo Isla


A number two for the number one. Inditex, the world’s biggest fashion distribution group, reorders its board structure regaining the CEO figure. The company announced yesterday the appointment of Carlos Crespo as CEO, a predictable move since the executive became, last 2018, in general director of operations and, in fact, number two of Pablo Isla, group’s president. Great path within the Spanish multinational, experience in audit and a great consideration from Isla are some of the traits that highlight in the sector from this 48 years old executive.


Crespo started his track record in Inditex in 2001, being in Zara’s parent company for more time than its president does, Isla, a characteristic that, according to company’s sources, “is key for the appointment to be accepted by the whole team” and, especially, “respected by the old guard”. The executive is considered a “man of the house”, so he perfectly knows the culture of Inditex.


After working for Arthur Andersen, the new Inditex’s CEO joined the company as countable policies’ responsible inside the financial department. Subsequently, he started managing the group’s logistics centers stock and in 2005 he was put in charge of the intern audit.





Having occupied this position is, precisely, another of the virtues that various company’s executive highlight on him, thus having managed this responsibility gives him knowledge about all company’s departments. However, the sector also outlines his limited linking with products’ area, headed, on the other side, by executives with Amancio Ortega’s trust, as well as different chain responsibles.


Discreet and with a low profile (something that perfectly within Inditex’s executives style), Crespo plays the keyboard in a A Coruña’s music group and he is an executive with personality: “he doesn’t hesitate when it is time to take difficult decision”, points a former partner.


As he was exercising until today, Crespo will be responsible for technology, information’s security, logistics, transports, works, juridical assessment, purchase, contracts and sustainability areas, all of them key within the stage the group is currently in.  






Carlos Crespo: third CEO for the third Inditex’s era 

The executive will pilot the stage of model’s change on the Spanish group, immersed in its biggest transformation of its history. He is the third executive that occupies this position, after Pablo Isla, who will stay as executive president, and José María Castellano.


Three captain for three stages. After José María Castellano, with whom Inditex gained size and entered the stock market, and Pablo Isla, with whom the company became the world’s number one in fashion distribution, Carlos Crespo becomes now the third executive that faces this responsibility and, like its two predecessors, in a key stage.





Castellano: global’s group construction and leap to stock market

José Maria Castellano was the first CEO in who Amancio Ortega trusted to start Inditex’s huge leap. The executive took his in 1997, after twenty years in the company, and relieved group’s founder, although at that time Ortega continued being ubiquitous in the company’s workaday.


There were the years of the construction of fashion’s global group, that today is Inditex, with the landing into new markets, the launching of Bershka, Zara Home and Oysho, Stradivarius’ and Massimo Dutti purchase and, finally, the entrance to the stock market, occurred in 2001.





Isla: professionalization and acceleration

José Maria Castellano left Inditex in 2005, when he took the leap to telecommunications sector. Then, the company resorted to another technical profile and alien to the sector to keep boosting the business, now with the stock market pressure.


The company attended to a headhunters company and found Pablo Isla, until that time Altadis’ president, that took the charge of CEO in 2005, and, six years later, the position of president. That last rise meant, besides, the start of Ortega’s withdrawal, who was then delegating all executive functions and was staying out of the workaday.  


During his period as CEO, Pablo Isla has multiplied almost by four the group’s billing, coming from 6,471 million euros in 2005 to overcome the 26,000 million euros last year. The benefit has also quadrupled, from 803 million in 2005 to 3,444 million thirteen years later.


With him in charge, Zara’s parent company organic growth (without purchases and with only one new chain: Uterqüe), boosted its store network, until overcoming the 7,000, and improved its retail thanks to the flagship, starting the transition until a “totally integrated”  model, that Crespo will have to give continuation.





Crespo: new helmsman for model’s change

New Inditex’s CEO has within his biggest responsibilities areas that are key for the transformation currently underway in the group. Like its happening in its competitors, Inditex has been impacted by the rise of eccomerce and for consumption habits change, which is taking the group to become an online naturally operator.


This move profoundly affects the operation and company’s costs structure. In this change’s difficulty, Isla has chosen an executive of its maximum trust. The appointment not only prepares the company for this new stage but also reinforces Pablo Isla, who has a high range’s number two for the first time.







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