How long have you been with Telefónica and what is your assessment of your time here?
I have been with Telefónica for several decades. I have lived most of my life in this company, for me it is almost life itself.
During this time here I grew as a person and as a professional, I got married, had all my children, started my career as a professional in Argentina, became CTO at the age of 31, moved to Germany and then to Brazil and back to Argentina, but with all its nuances and challenges.
I have always worked in the Technology area and if anyone thinks that it can be monotonous, they are wrong: over the years we have installed new technologies, evolved them, shut them down, merged networks, systems, companies, sold them, put them together and separated them. The change is constant, the challenges never end and the experience gained is incomparable and immeasurable.
Personally, I have gone through all the emotions collectively: joy, excitement, frustration, pride, sadness, elation, but never, never resignation, never ever. It is an identity of this company, no matter how many obstacles there are, in any geography and in any circumstance, we always move forward, we always achieve what we set out to do.
Is there any project at Telefónica that you feel particularly satisfied with or proud of?
I would say the other way round, it is difficult not to feel proud of any project. I am proud of the fibre and TV that reaches more than 20 million homes in Latin America, of all the mobile networks that connect more than 200 million people in the countries I have worked in, of the transformation of customer systems in Hispam and the real shutdowns and dismantling of legacy systems (you only really shut down when you take everything away), of the new digital channels that radically enhance the experience of our more than 100 million customers in Hispam. I am especially excited about Internet for All, which literally changes the lives of more than 3 million Peruvians living in rural areas every day. I am very proud of Dalia in Mexico, because of the courage of the whole team to have imagined, designed and implemented it and because it marked the first milestone of a new way of doing things. I am very moved to think that with my work and that of our teams we have had such a positive impact on people’s lives.
What do you think Telefónica has contributed to society in these almost years?
A great deal. Today, and for some time now, we have been present in every moment of people’s lives. Someone will say that 80, 90 or 100 years ago it wasn’t like that, but that’s because we can’t imagine what life was like before anyone had a landline telephone or could make transatlantic telephone calls.
Telefónica has enabled the development of every country it has passed through. Bringing the internet to homes and businesses, first with DSL and then with fibre, or enabling personal connection through a mobile phone to the majority of the population radically changes people’s opportunities, whether in education, in health, in the ability to generate new businesses, in security. Most businesses in the world today would not exist as we know them or would not exist at all if it were not for the services and products we offer. Telefónica’s contribution to society is enormous and I believe that this is especially true in Latin America where our presence has transformed peoples, has “de-isolated” entire societies, and has allowed them to grow and develop.
Where do you see Telefónica in the future?
That’s an interesting question because when I talk to the teams about our FTTH deployments and the copper switch-off, I always say that we are preparing Telefónica for the next 100 years and I joke that someone in that time will remember us without knowing who we were.
I have no doubt that Telefónica will continue to play a leading role in the society of the future, always at the forefront of technological evolution, of innovation, of breaking paradigms. It will have adopted technologies that we cannot imagine today, built platforms and services that we do not know about. The world will be different, completely digital and softwareised, but Telefónica will be the vehicle for people’s lives and businesses to connect, always creating a more human world. How could it not be like that if that is our DNA? And that DNA, it will persist and continue to strengthen going forward.
Could you live without a mobile phone?
Sure you could, because we already have, but life would be more complicated. Technology makes our lives easier, it connects us with those who are far away, it simplifies the way we work, we make everything simpler and faster. Today, because of the responsibilities that my job entails, I never turn off my mobile phone, the exception is on planes because – for now – that’s the way we are told to do it. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely dependent.
I still believe that seeing each other face to face is something else, be it with a friend, family or work colleagues. I didn’t like the life of pandemic confinement at all. Today I travel to be close to the teams in other countries, I am not satisfied with Teams alone, although it has clearly changed our lives. Today with my friends from the literary workshop we change the day if one of us can’t, we can’t imagine ever seeing each other’s faces on a screen again.
Help us solve one of the great enigmas of humanity: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion?
Personally, I prefer the potato omelette with onion. Although in Argentina that may be a cause for discussion, it won’t be too passionate. If you want a more exciting discussion you would have to ask whether asado con achuras or sin achuras, whether flan alone, with cream or dulce de leche, whether River or Boca… In my case, asado without achuras, flan with dulce de leche and neither River nor Boca but San Lorenzo.
Nominate another colleague to appear in this section
Wow, it’s hard to choose! There are lots of amazing people who have a lot to share at Telefónica, but it would be nice to hear (or read in this case) from Gabriela Flores and Cristina Helguera, two talented professionals who are running very challenging projects in the region, to hear how Telefónica looks from their young eyes. I would also like to nominate Luis Benatuil, who with his overwhelming passion and enthusiasm will tell us how Telefónica is seen from the dividing line of the hemispheres and from all his experience in different geographies.