Inditex founder to step down as chairman

10th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

The founder of Spain's Inditex, Amancio Ortega, on Monday proposed that the company's chief executive, Pablo Isla, replace him as chairman of the world's biggest clothing retailer.

The company behind the Zara clothing chain said in a letter sent to Inditex employees that Ortega, 74, will propose Isla, 46, as chairman "with great enthusiasm" at the next shareholders meeting in July.

"This new stage, which in reality was initiated over recent years, will show the path for the future, and will combine youth and experience, which, with responsibility and professionalism, lead to doing things properly," he added.

Isla will stay on as chief executive, a position he has held since June 2005.

Ortega's handover to Isla was seen as maintaining Inditex's strategy of international expansion, especially in Asia, and it was welcomed by the market.

Shares in Inditex closed up 1.05 percent at 56.60 euros on a day which saw the benchmark Ibex-35 index close down 1.29 percent at 9,437.80 points.

Ortega is Spain's richest man and the ninth richest in the world according to Forbes.

He began his first textile manufacturing operations in 1963, and opened his first Zara shop in 1975 in La Coruna in northwestern Spain, a city that is still home to Inditex's headquarters.

Inditex, whose other brands include youth label Bershka and the upmarket Massimo Dutti, posted a net profit of 1.18 billion euros (1.52 billion dollars) during the first nine months of 2010, a 42 percent jump over the same time in the previous year.

It opened 300 additional stores during the first nine months of 2010, including 42 in China, as it brought its worldwide total to 4,907 shops in 77 countries as of the end of September.

© 2011 AFP

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