Fashion’s Succession moment: Zara heiress Marta Ortega, 37, who began her career as a sales assistant is following in her father’s footsteps as chairman of Inditex (but she prefers riding horses than celebrity parties)
- Marta Ortega Perez , 37, takes over as chairman for Inditex in April 2022
- Follows after her father Amancio Ortega, who stepped down as chairman in 2011
- She graduated from the European Business School in London and worked in Zara
- Promoted to leadership role after holding undefined job at company for 14 years
- Mother-of-two married fellow Inditex employee Carlos Torretta in 2018
The return of the hit drama has been hailed as the most hotly anticipated TV events of the year – but the fashion world is now seeing it’s very own Succession moment play out in real life.
Mirroring the series, which sees a father grooming his children to take control of his empire, Spain’s richest man and Zara founder Amancio Ortega has announced his youngest daughter Marta Ortega Perez, 37, will take over as chair of the retailer’s parent company Inditex, bypassing her two older siblings.
Marta, who is the only child of Amancio and his second wife Flora Perez, takes over in April at the world’s largest fashion group, which has 6,654 shops and 162,450 staff.
Amancio has two children from his first marriage to Zara co-founder Rosalía Mera Goyenechea: Marcos, 50, who was born with cerebral palsy, and Sandra, 53, who became Spain’s richest woman when she inherited her mother’s seven per cent stake in Inditex in 2013. She now works for a charitable foundation founded by her mother.
Marta has been groomed for the role from a young age, having started out aged 22 as a sales associate at the Zara store on King’s Road in London and going on to work for the £75billion company ever since.
The 37-year-old mother-of-two will be the leader to the parent company of a portfolio of world-famous high street brands including Zara, Massimo Dutti, Uterque, Stradivarius and Bershka.
She will be taking over the role from Pablo Isla, who has been chairman for over a decade after Amancio stepped down as chairman in 2011.
In a real life Succession moment, Zara heiress Marta Ortega Perez, 37, has landed the top job at the high street chain as she is set to become chairman of Inditex
Meanwhile Marta was educated at a Swiss boarding school, before studying business management at the European Business School in London in 2007.
Marta, who is the only child of Inditex founder Amancio Ortega and his second wife Flora Perez, takes over in April at the world’s largest fashion group, which has 6,654 shops and 162,450 staff (pictured with Amancio)
She trained as an assistant in Zara on Oxford Street where Kate Moss, who modelled there, reportedly rebuffed her friendly overtures.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, she said: ‘The first week, I thought I was not going to survive. But then you kind of get addicted to the store.’
She has since gone on to hold an undefined yet integral role in her father’s company, in which she ‘oversaw Zara womenswear design and merchandising’.
Her decisions include setting Zara apart from its high street competitors by putting stores on streets dominated by designer boutiques and hiring celebrity photographers like Mario Sorrenti and Steven Meisel to shoot models.
Marta, who speaks five languages, married fellow Inditex employee Carlos Torretta – son of fashion designer Roberto Torretta – in 2018
Meanwhile she also led the launch of Zara’s more high-end SRPLS line and the collaboration with KASSL Editions.
Marta has been credited with strengthening its brand and clothes offering.
She has a similar approach to her father Amancio to work, sitting on the main floor of Zara’s headquarters in La Coruña to ‘stay close to the product’.
The organisation claims to be ‘hierarchy-free’, while job adverts often ask for ‘humility’ as a quality in its workers.
The keen equestrian, who tends to keep a low profile, rarely attends high fashion parties and is more likely to be seen competing in Madrid Horse Week
Marta, who speaks five languages, married fellow Inditex employee Carlos Torretta – son of fashion designer Roberto Torretta – in 2018.
The 400 guests at the star-studded party at the Royal Yacht Club in La Coruna included Bruce Springsteen’s daughter Jessica and Spanish Master Chef’s Samantha Vallejo-Nagera.
She wore four Valentino couture creations, which were flown in via private jet and delivered by Pierpaolo Piccioli, the label’s creative director.
Guests enjoyed performances by Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, while the event was all captured by the late fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh.
For her 2018 wedding, Marta wore four Valentino couture creations, which were flown in via private jet and delivered by Pierpaolo Piccioli, the label’s creative director (pictured)
Guests at the mother-of-two’s wedding to Carlos were treated to performances from Jamie Cullen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin
She is a mother-of-two, with one-year-old daughter Matilda and Amancio, eight, who is a son with her previous husband, Olympic showjumper Sergio Alvarez Moya, who she married in 2012.
Meanwhile she is also close friends of the couple include Queen Letizia of Spain, who regularly steps out in pieces from the brand.
The decision to take on the top job comes after she claimed earlier this summer she had no plans to take a more formal leadership role.
A source told The Telegraph: ‘She’s very calm and polite.’
The decision to take on the top job comes after she claimed earlier this summer she had no plans to take a more formal leadership role
The insider added that Marta will leave much of the day-to-day to incoming CEO, Oscar Garcia Maceiras.
They said: ‘We can expect a natural evolution of what she does now – she has no desire to rock the boat.
‘Her big thing is the product; she brings the consumer perspective.’
The keen equestrian, who tends to keep a low profile, rarely attends high fashion parties and is more likely to be seen competing in Madrid Horse Week.
The keen equestrian, who tends to keep a low profile, rarely attends high fashion parties and is more likely to be seen competing in Madrid Horse Week (pictured with Mary-Kate Olsen)
Speaking about taking on the role, Marta said: ‘I have lived and breathed this company since my childhood, and I have learned from all the great professionals I have worked with over the last 15 years.
‘I have always said that I would dedicate my life to building upon my parents’ legacy, looking to the future but learning from the past and serving the company, our shareholders and our customers where I’m most needed. I’m deeply honoured by the trust been placed in me, and enormously excited about the future.’
Her promotion was part of a wider shake-up that unnerved investors and sent shares down 6 per cent in Madrid.
She will replace Pablo Isla, who served as deputy chairman and chief executive between 2005 and 2011 before becoming executive chairman and was the first person outside the Ortega family to lead the business.
Insiders described the mother-of-two, who has a desk on the floor of Zara’s headquarters in La Coruña, as ‘very calm and polite’
‘We believe the time has come to turn a new page,’ said Isla, 57.
The shake-up also saw general counsel and board secretary Maceiras promoted to chief executive.
The 46-year-old will take over from Carlos Crespo, who has been in post since July 2019 and will become chief operating officer.
Inditex is majority-owned by Amancio Ortega, Spain’s richest man, who has a 59.3 per cent stake worth £44.5billion.
Now 85, he founded Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia in 1975 in Spain’s north-western region of Galicia, where it is still based.
It has grown into an empire with annual sales worth £17.5billion across eight brands including Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius. In the UK, it has more than 100 shops including 66 Zara stores.
Profits soared to £726million in the three months to July as online sales rose and shops remained open in key markets. It may just £940million across the whole of last year as Covid took its toll.
Zara enjoys annual sales worth £17.5bn across eight brands including Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius. In the UK, it has more than 100 shops including 66 Zara stores
Inditex shares fell in Madrid are up nearly 8 per cent this year.
Analyst Andrew Busby of Retail Reflections said: ‘I think it is a sound succession move and don’t expect any hiccups or bumps as a result.
‘She is a safe pair of hands and I think the brand will continue evolving, growing and being successful.
‘It is one of the few success stories we have on the High Street at the moment in terms of its offer, the way it manages stock and inventory. It’s probably the envy of many of its competitors. It is just a great seamless handover.’
But analysts at Spanish investment firm Alantra said: ‘We would have expected a more orderly and smoother transition, with Isla supervising in a non-executive role.’
And experts at Kepler warned that Ortega Perez and Maceiras ‘have a lot to prove when it comes to their ability to run this big monster in the middle of the Covid crisis’.
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