Ana Sánchez de la Nieta, the next guest to participate in the Proa Comunicación Observatory on January 29

On January 29 at 2:30 pm, the journalist Ana Sánchez de la Nieta will participate in our Proa Comunicación Observatory to analyze the current situation of journalism, the relationship between politicians and the media and the profile of new journalists, among other topics.

 

A graduate of journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid, she is currently the editor of Conversaciones con. She also managess the film & cinema section of Telva magazine and the agency Aceprensa. As also deputy director of film review magazine Fila Siete, she also advises various organizations and companies on communication strategy.

Javier Ortega Smith, Secretary General of Vox to participate in the Proa Comunicación Observatory

Javier Ortega Smith (Madrid 1968), the Secretary General of the Vox political party, will participate in the upcoming edition of the Proa Communicación Observatories entitled ‘Defending Spain in the courts’. The Observatory will be held on January 21, 2019 at 09:00 AM at the Club Financiero Génova in Madrid.

Ortega is a licensed lawyer who graduated from the University of Alcalá with additional studies at the School of Legal Practice of ICADE. He was the head of legal affairs of the Foundation for the Defense of the Spanish Nation (DENAES) and is also a former soldier, having served in the Special Operations Corps of the Spanish Army (COES).

Apart from being a mountaineer, he is also a diver, a swimmer and a karateka, the latter recently used to describe his position as “the kingmaker” in the Andalusian Parliament in efforts to expel Susana Díaz, due to the newly acquired leverage Vox gained from the last regional elections.

But undoubtedly Ortega now spends most of his time fulfilling his duties as the Secretary General of Vox, also leading the popular lawsuit against the coup leaders of Catalonia in the Spanish Supreme Court.

The Proa Observatories are discussion forums complemented by the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals.  They were enacted with the purpose of becoming a laboratory of ideas, where genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues as well as discuss corporate reputation, branding and public relations as important elements for businesses to improve and succeed.

Among the distinguished guests who have participated in these forums are economist Manuel Conthe, President of Red Eléctrica Spain Jordi Sevilla, former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert, writers Pablo D’Ors and Pilar Urbano, Director of External Communication at Deloitte Antonio Belmonte, Director of Communication and Institutional Relations at El Corte Inglés José Luis González-Besada, the High Comissioner for the Spanish Brand Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, Director General of the OJD Manuel Sala and IESE Professor Yago de la Cierva.

Proa Comunicación, Madrid SnowZone and RFEDI, organize the II National Snow Sports Awards

Proa Comunicación, in collaboration with Madrid SnowZone and RFEDI-Spainsnow, organized the II National Snow Sports Awards, held last Friday November, 16th in the only indoor snow track in Spain. This gala served, for the second consecutive year, to pay tribute to the sector and its members: runners of today and always, stations, federations, clubs, institutions, brands, specialized press, etc…

Institutions such as the Consejo Superior de Deportes and the Spanish Olympic Committee were represented at an event that took place in the viewpoint of the indoor track. The gala was attended by María José Rienda (President of the CSD), Ricardo Leiva (Sports Director of the Spanish Olympic Committee), and May Peus España (President of the RFEDI), who coincided in pointing out the importance of prizes destined to be consolidated year after year. May Peus also recalled the need to recognize the work of people and entities in the sector: “Snow sports need to reward the figures who, every day, every training, every descent, every gesture, value this sport. These awards do not only reward sports categories, but also actions or projects that promote the sector.”

After a very special awards ceremony, in which the Olympic feat of Regino Hernandez and the presidency of the CSD of Maria Jose Rienda, among other distinctions, were recognized, an emotional spectacle took place on the slope. The performance was a tribute to the three Olympic medals in the history of Spain, those won by Paquito Fernández Ochoa, Blanca Fernández Ochoa and the award-winning Regino in Sapporo (1972), Albertville (1992) and Pyeongchang (2018), respectively. The historical descents of the three athletes were emulated taking into account aspects such as material and costumes, using for example Regino’s already iconic silver helmet. In the show, the three venues of the Olympic Games where these milestones were held took on special importance.

The jury that evaluated the nominations and decided the winners was made up of diverse representatives of the sector: Mrs. María José Rienda, President of the Superior Council of Sports; D. Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee; D. May Peus, President of RFEDI; Ms. María José López, President of ATUDEM; Mr. Javier Villar, Director of Madrid SnowZone; Mr. Pablo Egea, journalist of MARCA; Jordi Font, snowboarder Olympic Diploma; and Mrs. Carolina Ruiz, Olympic skier.

The nine categories of the first edition of the awards have been maintained this second year, with the sole exception of the name of the Best Snow Coach Award, which has been renamed Israel Planas Award in memory of the late coach of athletes such as Regino Hernandez and Lucas Eguibar.

Complete list of winners of the II National Snow Sports Awards

Paquito Fernández Ochoa Award, to the best male athlete of the 2017/18 season: Regino Hernández, for his Olympic Bronze medal in PyeongChang 2018 in SBX.

María José Rienda Award, to the best female athlete of the 2017/18 season: Olga Martínez, Mushing athlete, World Champion in Canicross Damas de perros nórdicos in Falzé di Piave (Italy) and 2nd World Championship of Mushing on land (IFSS) in DCMV (canicross masters- scooter 1 dog).

Carolina Ruiz Award, to the best sportsman with projection of the year 2017/18: Thibault Magnin, sportsman of FS, Bronze Medal in Big Air (FS) in the Junior WC 2018, celebrated in Cardona NZ.

Blanca Fernández Ochoa Award – Mujer y Nieve, to the person or entity that has most distinguished itself in promoting the role of women in snow 2017/18: Maria José Rienda, the first woman to be President of the CSD and Secretary of State for the Sport.

ATUDEM Award, to the mountain resort with the greatest sporting involvement in the 2017/18 season: La Molina, for the organization in 2018 of the SBX WC.

Israel Planas Award, Best Snow Coach, Best and Most Professional Coach of the Year 2017/18: The SBX Technical Team, for the achievement of the Bronze medal in SBX JJOO PyeongChang 2018.

Snow Communication Award, for his support for communication in snow sports 2017/18: Jose Manuel Tallada, sports journalist and unconditional follower of snow sports, for his transmission of the SBX test in the Olympic Games and the famous: “Olé tu Regino.”

Snow Industry Award, to the Company with the highest promotion in Spanish snow, AUDI leading automotive company, unconditional support to snow in all its editions.

SPAINSNOW Award, to the club or FFAA with the greatest projection in the 2017/18 season Andalusian Federation of Winter Sports, for the constancy in the work and having achieved the first Olympic medal for its Autonomous Federation.

II Gala in Honor of Snow Sports

The II National Snow Sports Awards represent the beginning of a weekend full of activities and events, which had, as an important milestone, the opening of the Audi U16/U14 Spanish Cup, which opened the season of competitions. As the main novelty of this edition, on Saturday, the 17th, a series of qualifying races for the test on Sunday were also held. In addition, there were also snow days organized by Nevasport for 60 bloggers in the sector.

The successful Vanity Fair breakfast with Begoña Villacís

Proa Comunicación organized Tuesday, November 13, the informative Vanity Fair breakfast with Begoña Villacís, citizens´ spokesperson on the Madrid City Council. The event, which took place at the Hotel Santo Mauro in Madrid, brought together numerous media outlets and guests from different social and economic areas of the city. Villacís analyzed the political environment through questions from the magazine´s director, Alberto Moreno, during a relaxed and close conversation, which later gave way to a round of questions from the journalists who attended the event.

Among the issues addressed by the councilwoman were the political situation that exists today in the Consistorio of Madrid, the Government of Pedro Sanchez and next year´s election campaign. “We have been able to permit ourselves three years of populism, but we cannot afford one more,” she said in relation to the crisis of Podemos in the Madrid City Council.

The citizens´ spokesperson was very critical of the management of the Madrid City Council, assigning direct responsibility to the mayor, Manuela Carmena. “In my previous life, when one of my lawyers screwed up, I took responsibility, as the boss. This is not happening in the City Council. Manuela Carmena is not taking responsibility for what is happening. Her government is like that part of Joaquín Reyes’ sketch in which he is painting lines.” Additionally, she attributed the problems to the disputes between the councillors of Ahora Madrid, alleging that “in the City Council six extreme and totally different political groups have entered.”

In relation to Madrid’s debt and its management, she said that “three years ago Madrid was saying ‘we are not going to lower the debt because it is illegitimate’. And this has a reason: we have never had such an incompetent administration.” Villacís pointed directly to the collection of taxes as responsible for the debt reduction, “how the Madrid City Council justifies raising citizens´ taxes when they already have plenty of funding. The aim of the Madrid City Council is to widen the sidewalks. When you can’t convince people with your management, you buy votes.”

Mobility and housing in Madrid, topics for debate

Asked about the key issues for the next government of Madrid, Villacís has pointed directly to housing, “in these three years the housing inventory has been reduced by 40% because Madrid has now blocked it capriciously.” She wanted to add that the price of housing will fall if the city builds more, “limiting the construction is not the solution.”

She also expressed her opinion on the current debate in Madrid: mobility. “We want to reduce traffic, but we want all the cases to be taken into account. One sign that there are traffic jams is that buses are much slower and that is why usage has declined.” In that case there are also the electric scooters, about which she states that “you could see me on scooter, yes. And on bicycle. I’m pretty multimodal.”

Government of Pedro Sánchez

In reference to the government of Pedro Sánchez, Villacís wanted to highlight the debate between people of the same ideology, “my friends of deep socialist ideas do not accept what the new government is doing. The image of Pablo Iglesias sitting in jail with Oriol Junqueras negotiating the budgets of my country seems terrible to me.”

“The PSOE doesn’t care who its partners are: it’s just power for power. I’ve told my team: the day I don’t care how I get power, I leave politics,” she said. Bildu’s entry into the institutions seems outrageous to “someone like me, from Irene Villa’s generation.”

She has also valued as improbable the hypothetical entry of Vox in parliaments and town halls, “it is a party of which we do not even know yet what its platform will be. Even so, as far as my terrain is concerned: I do not agree with parties, I agree on policies, and Citizens do not renounce theirs. Whoever wants to negotiate with us knows what’s ahead,” she said.

Distrust of justice

Villacís wanted to express her distrust of justice: “The credibility of the Supreme Court, with everything that is happening in Catalonia, is vital. And it has been undermined. The current government has led us to a Justice more politicized than ever, where all parties are showing a serious irresponsibility towards the citizenry.”

In addition, she has detailed the position of Citizens regarding the election of judges: “Honestly, why do politicians have to define who judges are and how they judge? We propose something as revolutionary as judges choosing judges. What it can’t be is that in the CGPJ the chairs are distributed. I don’t think it’s sensible for political parties to choose the judges who will then judge them.”

Proa Comunicación collaborates with the XIV Edition of the HANDS Charity Auction

Proa Comunicación will again participate in the Hands 2018 charity auction for the Emalaikat Foundation, an NGO dedicated to the creation and development of sustainable water resources in Africa. The auction will be held on December 4th in Madrid (Casa Club C/Pinar 17), and the entire proceeds will go to the Foundation for the development of water resources in Turkana (Kenya).

This solidarity event will bring together designers, artists and prestigious firms, outstanding professionals and wonderful people, benefactors of this event, who join every year, responding to the call of Ana López de Letona to, in her words, to bring “drops of life and hope to many people in Africa.”

The HANDS Charity Auction is a solidarity action that seeks to inform, raise awareness and sensitize society about the evolution of the situation in Kenya and Ethiopia. HANDS is also an exceptional opportunity to get to know first-hand the work carried out by the missionaries of the Community of Saint Paul the Apostle and the Emalaikat Foundation in Africa, where they have built, together with the local communities, more than 74 rafts and 83 rock dams, as well as promoting numerous actions for access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

If you want to attend the HANDS 2018 Charity Auction, or want to collaborate by sending a gift for the raffle or auction, just send an email to cristina.comitre@grupoascendent.com.

Lack of expertise and training, main cause of miscarriages of justice in finance

  • IESE Prof. Pablo Fernández opened the Encuentros Degussa, organized by Proa Comunicación, with a presentation in which he analyzed real cases he has encountered in the more than 150 lawsuits and arbitrations in which he has participated.
  • On the decision of the President of the Government to change the law so that the banks pay the Tax of Documented Legal Acts, he pointed out that “it is like saying that the citizens are not going to pay for the water and that the communities of neighbors will pay it.”

Madrid, November 8th, 2018. The lack of expertise and training, as well as not asking for advice from specialists, is the main cause of errors committed by the judiciary and legal world when it deals with financial cases, according to IESE professor Pablo Fernández, who inaugurated this morning´s Encuentros Degussa with a presentation on ‘Errors of judges and lawyers in financial cases’, held at Madrid headquarters of the leading European company in the physical investment gold trade.

With very clear language and the use of concrete examples from his participation in more than 150 lawsuits and arbitrations, in boards of directors and in acquisitions, he pointed out that this lack of expertise is already appreciated in the legislation itself. The person who drafts the laws, “mainly state attorneys and lawyers in courts,” often does not differentiate between accounting, finance, and financial economics. “Although I also know very sensible state lawyers who don’t make those mistakes,” he said. Moreover, in this area, according to Professor Fernandez, “a lot of facts and opinions are confused.”

He considered it very important when making valuations of companies to differentiate between accounting and finance, “because they are very different.” “Accounting is interpreted as something that has to do with the value of the companies or with the money they generate and the profit, the money that comes in minus the money that comes out, which is the most typical error,” he explained. “Finance has more to do with expertise and is based on common sense, experience and some technical knowledge,” he said. And to underpin this theory he equated the valuation of a company with that of a cow, “the same factors are involved.” Because, in his opinion, finances are based on simple concepts, “money that comes in, money that goes out, risk of money that is expected to receive …”, which are complicated by synonyms, words that have nothing to do with what they designate and confusing terms, “especially if you listen to radio, read expert reports, receive alerts on the subject or visits several specialized websites …”

Using textual phrases from real sentences, he summarized in ten the most frequent errors in finance and accounting. These errors were contested one by one with great subtlety and a sense of humor. To illustrate his analysis he also alluded to specific cases, such as the Supreme Court’s ruling on the soil clauses of mortgages, distilling all the inconsistencies he considers it contains. “How can something that is perfectly understood by the parties of a contract at the time of signing be abusive?” he said, exposing the high court. Thus, he noted that the consequences of judgments like this “increase the legal uncertainty of companies and individuals, diminish the attractiveness of investing in Spain and also create Jurisprudence.”

To avoid rulings like the one in the example, he recommended that judges “consult people who understand the subject and who are not normally those who are often considered experts,” with whom he was very critical. It also recommended mandatory courses for commercial judges on business, economics, accounting, finance, classification, operation and use of financial instruments, in addition to the creation of a section with Commercial Magistrates in the Supreme Court.

His presentation sparked a lively debate among attendees, who, among other issues, were interested in Professor Fernandez’s opinion on the recent and controversial ruling of the Supreme Court that applies to buyers the payment of the Stamp Duty and about the announcement by the Prime Minister that the law will be changed so that this tax is paid by banks. “It’s like saying that citizens are not going to pay for water and that the neighboring communities will pay,” he responded ironically to the last part of the question.

The Encuentros Degussa are stable forums for the dissemination and exchange of ideas with the participation of outstanding executives, academics, politicians and professionals. Its aim is to foster “a genuine dialogue involving customers, partners, friends and suppliers,” explains Tomás Epeldegui, director of the German company in Spain. They deal with current affairs, economic analysis and others related to Degussa’s own activity, investment in precious metals.

Pablo Fernández holds a PhD in Business Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Economics from Harvard University. He also holds an MBA from IESE and is an industrial engineer from the Universidad de Navarra (San Sebastián). Before starting his teaching career, he worked as an analyst and financial coordinator for Pepsi Cola in southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Libya and Malta) in Spain and also in Rome, at the same time as he combined it with the financial management of the Mediterranean region (Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) and Sudan.

Degussa is the leading company in Europe in the trade of physical investment gold, ingots and coins. In addition, at its headquarters in Madrid you can find silver coins, platinum, palladium and also jewelry and other gift items. All of them can be engraved and stored in the company’s rental safe deposit box service. Its products can also be purchased through its online shop (http://www.degussa-mp.es/onlineshop), which is open 24 hours a day. It also offers the possibility of repurchasing ingots and/or coins. It is accredited by the LBMA, the London Bullion Market Association, the world’s largest association of gold and silver market professionals.

Borja Bergareche: “Fake news is a problem of the distribution of news by algorithms rather than the quality of information.”

“We have to differentiate between fake news and disinformation,” warned Borja Bergareche, Vocento’s digital innovation director, during his speech at the Proa Observatory, held at Degussa’s headquarters. Bergareche spoke about ‘Profitable journalism in the era of fake news and Silicon Valley platforms’, clarifying exactly what we mean when we talk about fake news, explaining what the new income lines of media sector are, and defending journalism as an industry, because “we have to be profitable day to day.”

In the era of fake news, the value of information and credibility has taken on a new dimension. In this sense, Bergareche acknowledged that “the debate has been oriented, in an interesting way, towards questioning the work carried out in the newsrooms.” He asked for several clarifications in this regard. On the one hand, he defended that “we are not dealing with a problem of production quality; fake news is, above all, a problem of accelerated and indiscriminate algorithmic distribution of human stupidity on platforms such as Facebook or Google,” he said, “the terms have been confused a lot.”

On the other hand, he demanded to proceed to a terminological clarification: “before certain situations, we must speak of disinformation, for example, in the context of the election of Donald Trump; fake news would be, being rigorous, false news spread by media, and it is true that certain media outlets do it; on another level it would be the hoaxes, which are the urban legends of all life.” Faced with this confusion of public opinion about the media, Bergareche has valued the newsrooms of the traditional media, claiming that they are “in themselves a process of verification of information with 150 years of history.”

Print isn’t dead.”

In relation to Vocento and the print media situation, he claimed the importance it still has despite the digital boom. “Print is not dead, it accounts for two thirds of our income. From there, the challenge for the media is enormous, and focuses mainly on optimizing the traditional business and the diversification and generation of new income.”

Along these lines, Bergareche wanted to highlight three main revenue streams that have been gaining prominence in recent years in the main media in general and in Vocento in particular.  He highlighted the branded content in the advertising field, the commitment to payment models, and the diversification of the business. The promoted content is gaining weight in the media, and “very creative things are being done that really add value.”

On the other hand, he acknowledged the progress made by the major media in terms of the paid digital subscription model, a path that Vocento has been determined to follow for some time now, as he explained, and one of the major trends in the industry at a global level. “It’s been three years since we made the strategic decision to lead the cultural change involved in paying for digital content: implementation is slow and requires even more training in big data and customer marketing, but the bet is unequivocal, now we must work to justify it to our most loyal readers.”

Alternative revenue streams for the media

Finally, with regard to these new sources of income, he highlighted business diversification and the development of new digital businesses. He explained Vocento’s commitment to new themes such as music and gastronomy, as evidenced by the purchase of Madrid Fusion, and also to new profitable digital businesses, such as infoempleo and pisos.com in the area of classifieds, Oferplan in e-commerce or Local Digital Kit in the area of digital services.

Finally, as a teacher and publisher, Bergareche has vindicated the importance of journalism as an industry in the face of “excess fascination” with entrepreneurship models. “We are a key part of a business, social and labor ecosystem, with more than 20 newsrooms and a staff of more than 2,700 people, of which almost 1,200 are journalists, the same number as the New York Times,” he said. “Entrepreneurship brings innovation and dynamism to that ecosystem, and in Spain very interesting entrepreneurial media have emerged, there is room for everyone, but we need large groups to ensure the industrial dimension,” he defended. “In addition, we have an obligation to be profitable every day,” he said.

In this context, and in a country where there are dozens of journalism faculties, he was optimistic about the question from one of the attendees: “The journalism students of today have the responsibility to aspire to create a part of tomorrow’s journalism, and almost anything is possible, but knowing that an important part of tomorrow’s journalism will be the journalism of a lifetime.”

Borja Bergareche, head of innovation projects at Vocento

Borja Bergareche is director of Digital Innovation at Vocento, the most widely distributed daily press group in Spain. He has led the creation of the new Vocento Media Lab and is responsible for driving the company’s digital transformation strategy and innovation projects. A lawyer and journalist, he has been the deputy digital director, London correspondent and the Senior International Editor of the newspaper ABC, and has also written for El Correo (Bilbao), El País and La Nación (Buenos Aires).

At the international level, he is a member of the Advisory Council for Europe of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, and in 2011 he published “Wikileaks Confidential”, reflecting on the implications of leaks for the press and international diplomacy. In the past he has worked as an advisor for international and constitutional affairs in the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In the academic field, he is a journalism professor at La Universidad CEU San Pablo in Madrid and teaches classes for ABC/Complutense´s master’s degree in Journalism. He has a degree in Law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao) and a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University (New York), with a Fulbright scholarship.

Proa Observatories

The Proa Observatories are stable discussion forums with the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They are born with the vocation of being a laboratory of ideas where a genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues, as well as corporate reputation, brand and public affairs as important elements for the improvement of companies.

Among the personalities who have participated in these meetings are economist Manuel Conthe; former Minister of Public Administration Jordi Sevilla; former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert; writer and priest Pablo D´Ors; the Director of External Communication of Deloitte, Antonio Belmonte; the Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of El Corte Inglés, José Luis González-Besada, the High Commissioner for the Spanish Brand, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, the writer and journalist Pilar Urbano, and the Director General of Information and Publication Control S.A. Publications. (OJD), Manuel Sala, among others.

Professor Pablo Fernández, next speaker at the Encuentros Degussa, organized by PROA Comunicación

Professor Pablo Fernández (IESE) will participate in the Encuentros Degussa, organized by PROA Comunicación, with a lecture on ‘Errors of Judges and Lawyers in Finance’ on Thursday, November 8 at 9:00 a.m. at the company’s headquarters (calle Velázquez, number 2).  Professor Fernandez will review the common mistakes he has encountered in dealing with lawyers and judges in more than 150 trials and arbitrations, in boards of directors and in acquisitions. The errors he will analyze are not exclusive to lawyers, but are applicable to many other people of varied training and professional activity.

Pablo Fernández holds a PhD in Business Economics and a Master’s degree in Business Economics from Harvard University. He also holds an MBA from IESE and is an industrial engineer from the Universidad de Navarra (San Sebastián). Before starting his teaching career, he worked as an analyst and financial coordinator for Pepsi Cola in southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Libya and Malta) in Spain and also in Rome, at the same time as he combined it with the financial management of the Mediterranean region (Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan) and Sudan.

The Encuentros Degussa are stable forums for the dissemination and exchange of ideas with the participation of outstanding executives, academics, politicians and professionals. The aim is to foster a genuine dialogue involving customers, partners, friends and suppliers. These sessions deal with current affairs, economic analysis and others related to Degussa’s activity, investment in precious metals.  These meetings will open in November 2018 with the participation of IESE Finance Professor Pablo Fernández.

To register you can send an email to cristina.garcia@proacomunicacion.es

Borja Bergareche, Chief Innovation Officer at Vocento, will participate in the next PROA Comunicación Observatory.

Friday, October 26th, a new edition of the Observatorios de PROA Comunicación will be held at Degussa’s headquarters. Borja Bergareche, Chief Innovation Officer at Vocento, will take part in the presentation: ‘Profitable journalism in the era of fake news and Silicon Valley platforms’.

In the era of fake news, the value of information and credibility has acquired a new dimension. The media, in their aim to adapt to the challenges presented by the digital environment, have to look for other formulas to make their contents profitable. Innovation is no longer an option, but an obligation.

Borja Bergareche has led the creation of the new Vocento Media Lab and is responsible for driving the company’s digital transformation strategy and innovation projects. A lawyer and journalist, he has been the deputy digital director, London correspondent and the Senior International Editor of the newspaper ABC, and has also written for El Correo (Bilbao), El País and La Nación (Buenos Aires).

At the international level, he is a member of the Advisory Council for Europe of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, and in 2011 he published “Wikileaks Confidential”, reflecting on the implications of leaks for the press and international diplomacy. In the past he has worked as an advisor for international and constitutional affairs in the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In the academic field, he is a journalism professor at La Universidad CEU San Pablo in Madrid and teaches classes for ABC/Complutense´s master’s degree in Journalism. He has a degree in Law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao) and a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University (New York), with a Fulbright scholarship.

Yago de la Cierva: “Crises affect all companies, not just poorly managed ones”

“Crises affect all companies, not just poorly managed ones,” warned Yago de la Cierva, professor of Corporate Communications and Crisis Management at IESE Business School, during his speech at the Proa Observatory, held at Degussa’s headquarters. Professor De la Cierva gave a lecture on ‘How to ask for forgiveness after a mistake: examples of corporate apology’ and did so in a very didactic way, explaining his premise through several relatively recent cases.

He compared the crisis communication with a milk jug that breaks and shatters, “there is no way to recover the milk and the jug”, but “you can always manage the post-crisis situation.” In his opinion, what we must try to do is to prevent and know how to ask for forgiveness, “which is very difficult for us because when we ask for forgiveness we reveal our weakness and become targets for the enemy, but it is the only way to overcome a problem.”

But how can you ask for forgiveness? Professor De la Cierva made three assumptions: if I am responsible, I ask for forgiveness immediately; if I am innocent, I defend myself; if I do not know if I am responsible, I open an investigation. The reason for this is “we have a duty to protect our organization.” He also pointed out that we must bear in mind that we will be judged not according to the law, but according to ethics, “the law is one of the least important things in crisis management.”

Using real-life examples, such as the mistakes made in the Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey sexual abuse cases, he recommended showing sincere and brief pain and solidarity with those who have been offended. The crisis suffered by Amazon because of the sale of two books over which it had no rights to sell served to add that, in addition to the previous advice, something must always be offered. And a Starbucks employee’s incident, that led to the unlawful arrest of two people of color at one of the store´s locations, was used as an example by Professor De la Cierva. He recommended that CEOs are the ones who face public opinion, take the lead and not only apologize, but also communicate the steps they are going to take to try to prevent similar mistakes from occurring. Furthermore this policy extends to not only the CEO, but also any employee “because no company can say it won’t happen again, all risks are never eliminated.”

One of the aspects he considered most effective in the face of a crisis is to act quickly, as L’Oreal did after hiring a young follower of the Belgian team as a model that television made famous during the World Cup in Brazil. She turned out to be an experienced hunter with an important photographic imprint on her social networks, and the French company immediately dismissed her. “With social networks, companies are naked before public opinion,” De la Cierva said.

An episode triggered by the announcement of an H&M sweatshirt with a message that in some countries outside Sweden was considered racist led De la Cierva to recommend that companies that go international should first hire people who know the local market. Secondly, they should not only briefly apologize, but also connect with the sources that they have offended, try to hit bottom as soon as possible and maintain their unity in the spokesperson’s office.

During his speech, there was also plenty of humor, similar to the humor used by the American fast food company, KFC, to quell criticism when it closed its 900 restaurants in the United Kingdom because it ran out of chicken, the main ingredient in its culinary offering. KFC saved the situation with a creative campaign in which it asked for forgiveness by laughing at itself.

Professor De la Cierva’s ‘commandments’ for success in a crisis communication can be summed up in seven principles: to manifest grief, to explain what went wrong, to acknowledge responsibility, to express regret, to communicate readiness to offer compensation, to commit to informing the public about the recovery plan and to make oneself available. Additionally, companies must be aware at all times that “it is impossible to prevent the company from having a crisis again, even if you are prudent.” Nor can we forget, the professor stressed, to have a protocol drawn up that establishes how to ask for forgiveness, “learning to do so is part of a healthy corporate culture.”

The Proa Observatories are stable discussion forums with the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They are born with the vocation of being a laboratory of ideas where a genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues, as well as corporate reputation, brand and public affairs as important elements for the improvement of companies.

Among the personalities who participated in these meetings were the economist Manuel Conthe; the former Minister of Public Administration Jordi Sevilla; the former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert; the writer and priest Pablo D´Ors; the Director of External Communication of Deloitte, Antonio Belmonte; the Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of El Corte Inglés, José Luis González-Besada; the High Commissioner for the Spanish Brand, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros; the writer and journalist Pilar Urbano, and the General Director of Information and Control of Publications S.A. (OJD), Manuel Sala, among others.