When Joaquin Duato (Valencia, 1962) comes to Spain, the foci do not smile like always. His sister, the actress Ana Duato; his cousin, the dancer and choreographer Nacho Duato, “and now my nephew Miguel Bernardeau”, also an actor, make him a shadow. “I always ask for them”, says the other side of the phone, from his office in New Jersey. However, when it is in its sauce, all the cameras are focused on this valencia occupies the second place of command in the american multinational Johnson & Johnson, the eleventh largest company on the planet.

Duato is one of the Spanish executives that most high have come into the business world and has done so in the mecca of business in the united States. Vice-president of the corporation, is responsible for the areas of pharmacy, consumption and manufacturing, technology and administrative services. “I manage a business of 50,000 million dollars and 90,000 people report to me,” he explains. In total, J&J bill to 80,000 million dollars (about 70,000 million euros) and employs 140,000 people.

The steering is part of a growing batch of Spanish that you are doing with the rudders of foreign multinationals in almost any part of the world. Of the united States to Hong Kong. Frankfurt to Mexico. United Arab Emirates to Singapore. There is No square that they resist because “the Spanish executives have a high level. They are quite creative, results-oriented and adaptable”, he likes to Pilar Santiago, partner, director of headhunter Heidrick & Struggles. “Every time are more global and compete perfectly with the managers of other countries, even they are better in some areas, as is the case of engineers”, supports Ana Herranz, director of career services at IE Business School. Also of professionals of the financial sector or technology, “where the Spanish are very good and soon falls short the country and jump to the outside”, says Ramón Gómez de Olea, managing partner of the firm of selection Russell Reynolds.

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The reasons for this increasing export of talent explains Mireia de las Heras, professor of IESE business school: “The first is that Spanish companies have a greater openness to the international market a decade ago. Multinational companies of the financial sector or infrastructure have been successful abroad and have gotten a lot of recognition outside. Them, and business schools, too, have appreciated the Spain brand. In addition, the economic crisis has led to an increased exposure of executives to other countries in search of opportunities that in Spain there was not”.

‘Spain is different’ recruiting bankers

Spain is different. This slogan is still relevant today if we apply it to the recent appointments of the two first banks of the country. Santander and BBVA, have been appointed as ceos of their respective entities to the swiss Andrea Orcel and Turkish Onur Genç. “It’s something atypical,” says Pilar Santiago, director of the signature of headhunter Heidrick & Struggles in Spain, “because to lead is usually put to executives germans, if the firm is German or French if it’s French. What has happened in Santander and BBVA are exceptions”.

“The british banks, or French are quite chauvinists”, match Ignacio Bao, managing partner of Signium International for Spain and Portugal, “here, however, we are more papist than the Pope. Because, what do you bring to these profiles? Really are more comfort to Ana Botín, who moves better on the british market, such as Orcel, an executive of your trust. And to Carlos Torres, because Genç is a believer of the mantra of the digitization of the ceo of BBVA”.

The decision is based, indicate a number of experts, the banks want to strengthen their global nature through the address.

Mario Lara, senior advisor of Boyden, also believes that these appointments are atypical, but signing foreign managers would have its logic when more than 70% of the revenues of the firms in the Ibex 35 come from international markets, appreciated. The examples of ceos of passport other than Spanish among the companies listed on the Stock exchange are anecdotal: the belgian Peter Guenter, Almirall; the austrian Meinrad Spenger, MásMóvil, of which he is the founder; the Italian Paolo Vasile, Mediaset, the argentine Christian Gut Revoredo, Prosegur, the mexican Gerardo Kuri Kaufmann, Realia, and the German Markus Tacke, Siemens, Gamesa. Except in the case of Almirall, the nationality of the senior positions is that of its majority shareholder, appreciates Lara. Now the question is whether the big banks are going to be put of fashion this trend.

The promised land

“In the last 10 years we have opened much to the world”, coincides with Cesar Cernuda, vice president of Microsoft and president for Latin America for the second time in his career. With his return to Miami (where is the headquarters of the corporation for the region) shows that the community of spaniards in the country has increased significantly and is already the second most numerous of all, says this spaniard is 46 years old. “Quantitatively the progress of the Spanish managers in the multinationals is enormous. When I lived in Switzerland [in the eighties], were migrants who worked in factories and now occupy managerial positions”, says Javier San Juan (Santander, 1961), president of L’oréal in Latin America, a manager that has over 30 years of working for the world, in 10 countries in particular. Today he speaks from Mexico.

Latin america was and remains the natural destination of the Spanish executives. In fact, it is still one of the fiefdoms that dominate. Many target the region from the united States, especially from Miami. There is more to look at the attached table to verify that the 85 high charges included in it, almost 30% work in the domains of Donald Trump. Some are the heads of the multinational company they represent, as is the case of Ramon Laguarta, ceo of Pepsico; Juan Ramón Alaix, Zoetis, and Victor Smith, of Guess. Others are vice-presidents, such as Duato, Javier Oliván, of Facebook; Dario Gil, IBM, and Ignacio Ruiz, Reckitt Benckiser. And leaders of the u.s. market, as occurs in Cemex’s or Primark. Although the most common are the ones in charge of Latin america. “I would like to think,” says St. John, “that the multinationals are looking for Spanish to lead the region and not the spaniards we look to Latin America because it is easier.” With his mastery of five languages, the executive evidence that is already surpassed the stereotype that the Spanish don’t speak languages.

In the united States, says Joaquin Duato, the talented Spanish manager is highly valued because it is adaptable to the changes that are currently occurring at a velocidad of vertigo, and have a global vision. In addition, the fact that you have ability to establish relationships very quickly and to be reliable, is pushing for the nationals to be elected to take charge of emerging markets, such as asian, ensures the vice-president of J&J.

But this is one of the most recent trends. Because, how could it be otherwise, where the spaniards have more predicament is in Europe. The proximity makes the affection and nearly half of the leaders that appear in this article, occupy positions of power in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland.

The City of london is the one that meets the vast majority, given the experience homeland in the financial sector, “and the ability to attract people from other countries that this city has, you need” the financial heart of London, according to John Colombás (Puertollano, Ciudad Real, 1962), director of operations and director of Lloyd’s Banking Group, whose international career started in Santander. Because, in his opinion, “the Spanish bring with regard to the anglo-saxon world, our ability to improvise and to identify the critical points very well.”

Belén Garijo, ceo of Merck Healthcare. Patricia Sevilla

Citigroup is one of the banks most committed to the Spanish talent, with three executives at the forefront of the investment banking (Manuel Falcó), of markets (Francisco Ybarra) and raw materials (José Cogolludo).

But not only do the financial institutions. Since Ikea came to Spain, in 1996, the country has been a major exporter of talent to the group, which employs more than half a hundred of spaniards around the world, indicates by e-mail from Holland, Juvencio Maeztu (Cádiz, 1968), vice president and chief financial officer of the company. In your organization chart international there are at least seven executives born in the skin of a bull.

In the vicinity of Frankfurt, Belén Garijo (Almansa, Albacete, 1960), ceo of Merck Healthcare, and is part of the council of administration of the pharmaceutical, argues that they are still “very few” Spanish in executive positions in Germany and that she is the only woman with so much responsibility in a publicly traded company on the stock market index, the Dax. “The next generations will be more,” he says.

This is something that is unquestionable in business schools. The three centers consulted for this article, IE, IESE and Esade, with a high percentage of foreign students in their classrooms, indicate that currently the managers have already accepted that Mobilbahis they need the international experience to advance in your career. All of them are considering working at least for three or four years outside of our borders. “It has changed the paradigm,” says Maria Obiols, director of career professionals of Esade, “today, it pursues what is known as the triple jump, which involves a movement’s geographical, sector and function.”

Barbara Navarro, directors of Google in Hong Kong. Xaume Olleros

And, as the times are changing at a speed unsuspected, the winds of time carry it to the executives patriotic to destinations that decades ago would not have or raised. Speaking from Hong Kong, Bárbara Navarro, director public policy, Google Asia-Pacific, recognizes that it is proposed to make the leap to international four years ago, and that “although he preferred to go to America, I was offered Hong Kong, and the fact of not knowing the local culture was not a barrier”. At the end of the world feels the future. “It is a region that is changing the course of the West and the East”, he explains, where the technological development is brutal, and “I’m seeing the efforts of countries to win the race to digital and I have the sensation of being in a movie that I don’t want to lose.” Australia, Korea and Japan are leading this rally, he says.

Amalgam cultural

he Admits that he struggled to adapt to the asian setting, “there’s a lot of diversity. Asia-Pacific is not a whole, it is the middle of the world, a region with an amalgam of cultures that have nothing to do with each other. And where there are few policies foreign, no Spanish”. The executive of Google, of 44 years, admits that he values most be Spanish since I moved to China. In short he will fly to Singapore, which is becoming a hub for international, with the migration of many multinational companies that set up there the headquarters for the region, such as Google.

Both in Hong Kong and in Seoul, the capital city in which is located the headquarters of LG Electronics, and where Carlos Olave is responsible, in its 43 years, the global management of human resources, with 40,000 people to its office in 80 countries; “all the world knows Spain, and he likes a lot.” However, the spaniards are a rara avis. “In the Seoul community is about 500 people and there’s not even a dozen of Spanish executives in foreign multinationals”, she explains. It is therefore not surprising that the news of our country to pass quite unnoticed.

Something that does not happen in Europe. “What is valued in Spain out of the country is that the economic status back, there is a great recognition of the effort that has been done to overcome the crisis,” says Belén Garijo. However, “do not let go of the crisis is obtained for the problem of the Catalan language. When you live outside, hard to explain. We need stability in Spain because this situation has an impact on the investment. In fact, the investment of germany in Spain has been reduced by 90% between 2017 and 2018. And this scares you,” he warns.

it has Also called the attention of the City the interest aroused in the media the rise of Vox in the elections in andalusia, Juan Colombás, “a phenomenon that has been very commented by the political polarization that is occurring in Europe”.

To the ceo of Merck Healthcare, the new socialist Government must maintain the economic indicators, when everything is pointing towards a slowdown. “We need results and that the Executive is focusing on the right priorities, that for the society are education and health.” In addition to resolving the crisis in Catalan, that neither this Government nor the previous ones have settled, remember.

Joaquin Duato, vice president of Johnson & Johnson. Alvaro Garcia

The country’s competitiveness is the most urgent problem to solve, according to Joaquín Duato. “We must put in perspective the economic situation in spain, that is not bad. What we have to improve is the employment. Government, firms and other agents, we have to generate jobs. But we cannot forget that, from abroad, Spain is a country that is viewed with great strength and potential,” says César Cernuda. A land, “supercool, hardworking people who knows how to move forward despite the difficulties”, that is the view of Spain in the Netherlands, in the opinion dand Maeztu.

The executive of Ikea, he had the “opportunity” to fly from the nest in 2009. The fact of working in multinational companies, facilitates mobility. So it was also as Duato, Olave, Colombás or Cernuda had climbed positions in the organizational structure, the international corporations they represent. First target countries, then functional areas and regions, and so on up to the steering committee, to the heart of the organization.

pay the price

however, other executives such as Javier San Juan (L’oréal), it was clear from the first moment that your site was far from Spain. “I did the international career for the curious to try if it was good in an environment different to mine. I first went to France, which was natural in a French company, then to Switzerland… a price Is paid to personal and family very big on having to change the country. I was not present when my parents died. I did not get to time. But it gives a huge satisfaction to be the first foreigner they saw in Russia,” he says.

Garijo also had “the ambition” to grow professionally. “It was a sacrifice and an opportunity that has allowed me to lead several organizational transformations, integrating companies,” he says.

according to Pilar Santiago, there are not so many Spanish managers outside of our borders because the quality of life within the country is very high, because of the weather and the family. “Are the main reasons why people do not want to leave Spain”. The rootedness to the family and the land is one of the main handicaps that stand out César Cernuda and Carlos Olave of the leaders of Spanish on the outside. Other issues that will fail are that “you have to dedicate time to recognize the work of others, a competition that I’ve had to reinforce in the united States, because neither in Spain nor in Europe is so developed”, it indicates Duato; or the ability to speak in public, or sell the personal achievements, adds Ana Herranz, “we’re not used to; it gives us shame.”

To John, the worst defect of the spaniards is self-criticism. “In all the countries where I have lived have a huge pride of its history. For us, it is not modern, we do not value the collective spirit and we are tremendously hard and corrosive with our history,” he laments.

Better wage

One of the incentives of the international career are the wages, that multiply like the foam when they cross borders. In the united States and the United Kingdom, the countries that best paid to executives, the salaries can be double, even triple the home, ” explains Mireia de las Heras. However, keep in mind that in those places the cost of living is much higher. In France or Germany, he continues, the leaders of Spanish may increase their compensation by between 20% and 40%, depending on whether the multinational is the expatriate or hired as local, which is what tends in recent years to reduce the costs of personal. In emerging countries, “the salary package has to be the carrot that gets shifted to the officers,” according to Maria Obiols. In them, a large portion of the payment goes to pay the “family infrastructure” (home, health…) or security.

The managers appreciate, however, that the salary, while relevant, is not the most important. “The appeal is to be in the first commercial bank United Kingdom, with a market share of 25%, and the impact that they can have all of your decisions in the society. That is what moves me each morning,” says John Colombás.

And that level of responsibility exercised by the executives for the world (and the salary) makes it very difficult to return to Spain. “To go home do you need to have a job offer interesting. And I have never received one from a Spanish company to work there,” says Javier San Juan, who says that it is running short of places to which we’d go. Belén Garijo is a complaint that I could never return to work their land: “One of the things that we dream of the spaniards is that our experience is valued in your country, one thing that has not been the case, with the exception of the boards of directors in which I participate. It is very difficult to reengancharte in the nationwide race,” he says. “From the professional point of view, I can not go back to Spain because there are no jobs of the dimension and the impact of that I am playing now”, says Joaquin Duato, that you may never be as famous here as her family.

powerful Women

One of the most eye-catching among the spaniards who fly the multinational companies in the world is the growing presence of women. Four years ago, the Business published a picture where it appeared the national leaders most prominent in the exterior. In it were 72 high-ranking officials. And only 9 were women. Today the list is longer, 85 executives, and 16 are directives. Missing a few that had great power, as Pilar de Zulueta, exvicepresidenta of Warner Bros., or Laura González Molero, former president of Merck in Latin america, but there are other new and Bárbara Navarro, Google; or the four executive of Ikea, which reflect the movement, slight, but movement at the end of the day.

they have Also disappeared from the count, senior executives like Ignacio Abia, exconsejero delegate of Olympus; Antonio Perez, the former president of Kodak, or Luis Alvarez, exconsejero delegate of BT.

it Is interesting to see how some Spanish people have been relieved at the expense of other fellow countrymen, as occurs in the presidency of Airbus in Latin America, which four years ago was occupied by Rafael Alonso, and currently does Arturo Barreira. Everything is in house.