De los Mozos, the signing with which Indra closes a year of political turmoil

De los Mozos, the signing with which Indra closes a year of political turmoil

2023-05-28 17:52:49

MadridAfter the storm comes the calm, says the proverb. Arms giant Indra knows this well enough that, after a very tumultuous year, it has seen peace arrive at the hand of the engineer and businessman José Vicente de los Mozos, who will be ratified on June 30 by the board of the company’s shareholders as the new CEO. De los Mozos will replace Ignacio Mataix, who will continue to be linked as “strategic advisor”.

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Indra’s board of directors communicated the decision “unanimously” on March 6. With Mataix’s farewell, the presence of high-ranking officials linked to the stage of Fernando Abril-Martorell, the previous president of Indra hastily dismissed, is put to an end. He was succeeded by the Catalan and close to the socialist orbit Marc Murtra, president without executive functions, appointed by the government of Pedro Sánchez – the State Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) is the first shareholder of Indra.

A “man from Castile”

De Los Mozos is characterized by two things: “his Castilian character” and the Renault company, agree up to a dozen people consulted by ARA who have known him closely. He grew up in Valladolid (Castile and Leon) and started working as an apprentice at the Renault factory there. He would later go through Nissan, Ficosa and finally return to Renault, where he ended up as president of the company in Spain and vice president of the group worldwide. He was also president of the automobile employers’ association Anfac. “Few executives have been paid the tribute that was paid to him when he left Renault and that says it all,” “Few executives have been paid the tribute that was paid to him when he left Renault and that says it all”, explains Emili Godes, former head of press at Nissan with whom he agreed when he was general manager. “There were a thousand people and the ovation lasted for many minutes,” adds a person who was present.

“He is very tenacious”, agree to say different voices around him, who highlight his defense “Spain’s railway” and his interests, especially in complicated moments such as the threat of closing the Renault factory in Valladolid . “When everyone else is blocked, he finds the solution,” adds a close person, who admits that “he loves challenges.” “He is very humane in his dealings: he has had to negotiate a lot with the unions, with whom he has a wonderful relationship,” points out another voice. And in his personal dealings “he can make you angry, but he tells you things clearly, both the good and the bad”, adds an ex-politician with whom he agreed.

The pipe of the pau

In the summer of 2022, Indra experienced a notorious political scandal: the dismissal of five independent directors thanks to the favorable vote of SEPI, the Basque defense company SAPA and the Amber fund – the main owner of Prisa. Those affected accused the Spanish government of wanting to “control” the company with like-minded directors. All this ended with an investigation by the CNMV which concluded, with nuances, that there had been no “irregularities”.

In addition, it opened a war between the Spanish government, and in particular the PSOE, with the Popular Party, which came to air that behind it all was the intention of the executive to manipulate the electoral processes with the systems of count of Indra.

It is this shock that explains the arrival of De los Mozos. His proximity to the PP is key and, at the same time, his good rapport with the executive of Pedro Sánchez, who has even decorated him with the Grand Cross of Isabel the Catholic. Although De los Mozos has publicly expressed that he “does not do politics”, up to five people with whom he has agreed throughout his career point out that he is from the popular orbit. “He was very close to Casado and has a good relationship with Núñez Feijóo,” points out a consulted source, while four other voices from the automobile sector affirm that “he sounded like the Minister of Industry” if the PP had reached Moncloa in 2019. In addition, he has just left the presidency of the Ifema exhibition center, where he had the approval of the regional and local government of Madrid.

“If Moncloa changes color [després de les eleccions generals del 2023], they won’t touch him. The change guarantees continuity,” adds one of the consulted sources. “It makes perfect sense that such a company [Indra] transfer comfort You can’t have the second match [el PP] at war against you”, reflect the sector. Regarding the signing of De los Mozos, from the PP they limit themselves to replying to this newspaper that “they do not value the managerial profile of company leaders”.

The industrial challenge

Beyond the political quagmire, Indra is in the spotlight because the European Union wants to rearm itself in terms of defense. “For years, Indra has become financially fat and has forgotten the industrial profile, which is what it needs now.” This is how the political ex-charge mentioned above summarizes the great challenge facing the company. Above all, at a time when Spain has committed to NATO to increase defense spending up to 2%. While it is true that Indra is the main Spanish military company and one of the main in defense and security in Europe, its managers were until now “very financial and have not capitalized technologically or industrially on the company”, adds the same voice, which points out that this is what needs to be done to compete with giants like Airbus and Thales.

And in this, De los Mozos fits in perfectly, because if the ten people consulted by this newspaper agree on one thing, it is in its “100% industrial” profile. Among the duties he will have to undertake is that of a new strategic plan that the company plans to define for the coming years and that will pivot on the aerospace and defense sectors.

In addition, this engineer’s professional career has led him to have “excellent” relations with countries such as Japan, Brazil and France. An agreement that will now be needed: the Spanish government has chosen Indra as “state coordinator” of the future European combat aircraft (FCAS), leaving the French company Airbus in the background, where the decision generated discomfort. “It will serve to rebuild bridges,” says a person close to De los Mozos. Also, of course, for peace to return to the Spanish military enterprise par excellence.

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