Amancio Ortega, the multi-billionaire founder and biggest shareholder of Galicia-based Inditex, the world's largest fashion retailer, is proposing to hand over the reins of the company to his right-hand man Pablo Isla, who is currently the company's deputy chairman and chief executive officer.
In a letter the company's employees filed with the National Securities Commission (CNMV), the 74-year-old Ortega said he would propose to shareholders at their next general meeting in July that Isla take over as chairman while continuing to operate as CEO.
Ortega, who, according to Forbes magazine, is among the 10 richest people in the world, will remain on the board. Ortega holds a 59.2-percent stake in Inditex, which has a market capitalization of some 35 billion euros, and whose best known brand is Zara. It has a network of over 4,900 stores in 77 countries.
"In 2001, when Inditex was listed, I addressed you to express the pride of having created a major international corporation among all of us, and the beginning of a stage which would assure the future and the continuity of the group," the letter said.
"Now is the moment, with great enthusiasm and responsibility, whilst continuing in the group and on its board, (to propose) Pablo Isla, current deputy chairman and CEO to be nominated chairman and CEO on the occasion of the next shareholder's meeting."
Ortega, who eschews the limelight, said the company is now entering a new phase which combines "youth and experience."
The 46-year-old Isla has been CEO of Inditex since 2005. He also sits on the board of telecoms giant Telefónica, Spain's biggest company by market capitalization.