Clothing retailer Zara has named the company’s 37-year-old daughter as chairwoman. With this appointment, 37-year-old Marta Ortega Perez, an almost unknown name for the fashion industry, becomes the youngest manager of one of the largest fashion chains in the world.
The daughter of billionaire Amancio Ortega, who also holds a majority stake in Inditex SA (ITX), will start her new job in April 2022. She will take the place of Pablo Isla, under whose leadership the company had global expansion.
Appointment of Mrs. Ortega Perez came after a wider reshuffle of management positions, when the new chief executive was elected Oscar Garcia Maceiras, currently general counsel and at the same time a new figure in the company, with no previous fashion experience.
The stock market price of Inditex in Madrid fell by more than 6% as soon as this news was released.
Although Ms. Ortega Pérez currently does not hold any position at Inditex, the company said that over the past 15 years she has worked in various business fields. She started her involvement in the company as a saleswoman in a Zara store in London immediately after receiving her university degree. Inditex said that since then she has been working on strengthening the Zara brand image and fashion proposals, and she will continue to oversee this area.
Ortega, the business founder who would later be renamed Inditex in 1963, retired from leading position at the company a decade ago. However, he still owns more than 59% of the business, and other family members own additional shares in the company.
In assuming the post of Chief Executive Officer, Mr. García Maceiras will replace Carlos Crespo, who took over in 2019. Mr Crespo will now return to his previous position as chief operating officer with a focus on operations, sustainability and digital initiatives of the company.
Garcia Maceiras, who joined Inditex earlier this year, has in the past been a state attorney in Spain and worked at several Spanish financial institutions.
The reorganization of Inditex, which has more than 6,600 stores in 96 markets worldwide, comes in response to the impact of the pandemic and the need to switch to online sales.
The company, which also includes brands Massimo Dutti and Bershka, has performed better than its rivals recently, as anti-Covid-19 measures were eased in some of the markets where it operates. In addition, Inditex’s supply chain is concentrated in Europe and the Middle East, which has protected it from disruptions in Asia that have affected other traders.
However, Ms. Ortega Perez and the new CEO of the company will be highly challenged to replace Mr. Isla. Despite the delay in launching on-line sales, Inditex – mainly under the leadership of Mr. Isla – has since succeeded in merging its physical stores with on-line operations.
Isla had said that the slow adaptation of digital sales was ultimately in the best interest of the company because it gave it time to develop a business model that positioned it more firmly in the market.