The founder's daughter is now supposed to be responsible for fashion, and that is causing unrest in the environment of the parent company of the clothing chain Zara.

After the Spanish company Inditex surprisingly announced the change in leadership, the share price plummeted by more than 6 percent on Tuesday.

He slowly recovered on Wednesday.

With eight brands from Zara to Massimo Dutti and Bershka to Pull & Bear, Inditex is the largest company in Spain.

Marta Ortega, the younger daughter of the founder Amancio Ortega, will head its board of directors.

She replaces Pablo Isla, who will be leaving the company after 17 years in which the Inditex Group achieved international growth.

Hans-Christian Roessler

Political correspondent for the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb based in Madrid.

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The fall showed how much the markets trusted Isla. He said that now is the “optimal moment” for the change, as the business model has proven to be very solid and the strategy is clearly defined. In the corona pandemic, Inditex recovered faster than its two main competitors, H&M and Primark. The Spanish group posted record profits in the second quarter. The third quarter also started well. After returning from the home office, many people apparently change their clothes again.

The former prosecutor Isla hands over a well-positioned house. When he started at Industria de Diseño Textil - Inditex for short - the company had almost 3,000 stores. Today there are more than 6,600 internationally - a good 1,400 of them in Spain, where the group brands control a third of the fashion market. Globally, Inditex is now represented in more than 200 markets. The market value temporarily exceeded the 100 billion mark. Under Isla it had increased sixfold.

For years he has been driving internationalization and digitization, which paid off in the pandemic. In the past financial year 2020, online sales rose by more than 69 percent to 6.6 billion euros compared to 2019. That was three times as much as in 2017. In the current year they will account for more than a quarter of the total turnover, originally this target should not be achieved until next year.

The integrated model, which Inditex has been expanding for several years, contributed to the latest successes.

The integration means that the separation between shops and online retail is increasingly disappearing.

The branches of Zara and Massimo Dutti are being transformed into warehouses for online sales, from which internet orders nearby can be delivered even faster.

Customers can exchange items purchased online in stores.

At the same time, hundreds of smaller branches closed.

Inditex is concentrating more on large flagship stores in prime locations.

The buildings often belong to the company founder, who invests a large part of his money in real estate.

Only daughter

Amancio Ortega retired from managing the Board of Directors in 2011. The 85-year-old entrepreneur still comes to the Inditex headquarters today. When his daughter starts on April 1, 2022, the generation change will finally be complete. Marta Ortega will then not be as powerful as Pablo Isla, who was also heavily involved in the operational business. Óscar García Maceiras will be the new CEO. The lawyer had only been chief advisor and secretary to the Inditex board of directors since March 2021. He replaces Carlos Crespo after only two and a half years, who is returning to his old position as the board member responsible for operational business. Marta Ortega will primarily represent the majority shareholders: These are the two holding companies through which her father controls 59.29 percent of the group.Her half-sister Sandra Ortega Mera holds another 5 percent.

Marta Ortega Pérez is the only daughter from the second marriage of Amancio Ortega, who opened his first fashion store with his late first wife in the Galician port city of La Coruña. Today he is the richest man in Spain. His fortune amounts to 67 billion euros. His daughter Sandra has the second largest fortune in the country.

The new Inditex President Marta Ortega is 37 years old. She has worked for the company for 15 years. At first she folded shirts in a branch on London's King's Road. There she studied at the European Business School after attending a boarding school in Switzerland. She speaks five languages. Recently she had barely appeared in public, had developed new premium collections for Zara and started a collaboration with designer Charlotte Gainsborough. She wanted to "build bridges between high fashion and high street, between the past and the present," said the enthusiastic show jumper in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in the summer. With her husband - the son of the fashion designer Roberto Torretta, who also works at Inditex - and their two children,who she brings to school in the morning herself, she lives in the northern Spanish city of Arteixo. The Inditex headquarters are also located there. Like her father, she does not have her own office there. “I've lived and breathed this company since I was a child,” said the new boss. She will dedicate her life to her parents' legacy.

With her promotion to Inditex, Marta Ortega now becomes the second strong woman in the Spanish economy, in which men still dominate.

Her start at the top of the textile company is reminiscent of Ana Botín's career.

Seven years ago she succeeded her late father Emilio at the helm of the Santander Bank.

Back then, too, investors were initially skeptical.