April 26, 2024

Gonzalo Gortazar named ‘Forbes Best CEO 2023’

  • The Forbes Best CEO 2023 award recognises the careers and work of the top executives of Spanish companies who have stood out the most over the past year.
  • The CEO of CaixaBank said in his speech that the award “represents a recognition of the efforts of the entire team of people who form part of CaixaBank, which is why I accept the award with satisfaction and gratitude on behalf of all of them”.
  • Gortazar also highlighted CaixaBank’s profound financial and strategic progress over the last decade, which has made it the sector leader in Spain, without altering its essence and its values of trust, quality and social commitment.

Gonzalo Gortazar, CEO of CaixaBank, has been named “Forbes Best CEO 2023”, an award that recognises the careers and work of the top executives of Spanish companies that have stood out in the last year for outstanding performance in their business and their contribution to society.

Gortazar received the award from Andrés Rodríguez, Chairman and Editor of Forbes Spain, and Pablo Isla, Global Senior Advisor of Cinven, who gave the speech in CaixaBank’s CEO’s honour. The event, which was held at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid Hotel, was attended by Isidro Fainé, Chairman of “la Caixa” Foundation and of CriteriaCaixa, and José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, Chairman of CaixaBank. Also attending was a number of members of the CaixaBank Board of Directors and the entire management team that comprises the financial institution’s Management Committee, together with executives from some of the country’s leading companies and business organisations.

In his speech, the CEO of CaixaBank stressed that “this award represents a recognition of the efforts of the entire team of people who form part of CaixaBank, from the directors, members of the management committee and other executives of the bank to the entire staff”, adding that he was accepting the award “with enormous satisfaction and gratitude on behalf of all of them”.

A decade as CaixaBank’s top executive

In June 2024, Gonzalo Gortazar will be celebrating a decade as CEO of CaixaBank. “In these ten years, I have seen the group change a great deal in three ways,” said Gortazar, sharing his vision of the transformation the bank has undergone during this time. Firstly, the CEO of CaixaBank pointed out the progress made on the financial front: “We have improved the structure of the balance sheet; we have doubled our solvency and also greatly increased liquidity,” he said.

The second aspect that Gonzalo Gortázar highlighted is the strategic factor, where he noted the bank’s clear leadership in the financial sector in Spain: “At CaixaBank we have become the leader in the Spanish market, with a market share of around 25%, a percentage well above that of our immediate competitors.” The CEO also spoke of some of the most significant innovations implemented over the last ten years: “We have changed the way we do banking, our network and the way we communicate with customers, and we have gradually transformed our branches to provide greater added value and better service”.

In this regard, Gortazar also highlighted the bank’s work in favour of financial inclusion in rural areas and service to the elderly: “We are firmly committed in this regard. First, with our physical accessibility. Many older people are not able to access digital tools and we want to be close to them in order to help them. We currently have a presence in just over 2,200 municipalities in Spain, and we are increasing our mobile branches in small towns without banking services. We have also made a commitment not to close any branches where we are the only bank. In addition, we have 1,600 specialised managers with specific training in customer service for senior citizens.”

As a third pillar, Gonzalo Gortazar pointed out how the bank’s performance over the last decade has not altered the essence that defines CaixaBank: “In this sense, I would like to emphasise that we have not changed over the last ten years; we have maintained the same values of social commitment, quality and trust; and that commitment to a mission that goes far beyond that of being a large bank, especially through our shareholder “la Caixa” Foundation and through our volunteer programmes, to continue giving back to society a large part of the fruits of our activity. It comforts me to think that, despite all the changes in the group – and the many that remain to be made – we have managed to keep our essence,” concluded the CEO of CaixaBank.

An entire professional career in finance

Gonzalo Gortazar has spent his entire professional career in the financial sector. He holds a dual degree in Law and in Business from the Comillas University (Universidad Pontificia de Comillas-ICADE) and an MBA with distinction from the INSEAD Business School. After holding various positions at Morgan Stanley in London and Madrid from 1993 to 2009, he joined Criteria CaixaCorp as CEO. Gortazar held the position until June 2011, when he joined CaixaBank as Chief Financial Officer until his appointment as the bank’s CEO in June 2014. He has also been Chairman of VidaCaixa, First Vice-Chairman at Repsol and a board member of Grupo Financiero Inbursa, Erste Bank, SegurCaixa Adeslas, Abertis, Port Aventura and Saba. Additionally, he is currently Chairman of CaixaBank Payments & Consumer and a board member of Banco BPI.

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