How long have you been with Telefónica and how would you rate your time here?
I started at Telefónica 12 years ago, when I took my first position as Commercial Innovation Manager in my native Venezuela. Since then, Telefónica has given me the opportunity to grow and learn constantly. I went on to become Consumer and Loyalty Manager, then Vice President of Strategic Planning and then Vice President of Marketing in the Venezuela operation.
Then came an even bigger challenge: leading Telefónica Guatemala and coordinating our exit from the Central American market, as part of our strategy to reduce assets on that side of the planet. That was when I arrived in Ecuador, where I first held the position of Commercial Vice-President and, since 2020, I have been the CEO of the operation in this country.
As I said, what I value most is the constant learning I have had as a person and professional. Learning from different fronts in the company and also the pleasant opportunity to get to know other realities, such as my stay in Central America and now in this beautiful country that is Ecuador. At Telefónica you never, ever get bored. There are always challenges, victories, falls, crises, but you always find yourself with such capable colleagues that it is incredible the satisfaction you get from turning all those “problems” into great opportunities and achievements, both for the Company and for the societies we serve.
Is there a project at Telefónica that you are particularly satisfied with?
Every journey and position in these 12 years has been full of great satisfaction. But I would like to highlight the great challenge we faced in the exit of Telefónica from Central America. You can imagine combining all the regulatory aspects in each of the countries, the legal aspects and, above all, managing this process in the best way possible for the employees, the people who contributed so much in each of those countries.
In my current position as CEO in Ecuador, I think the most important project has been to strengthen our presence in Guayaquil and its satellite cities. For those who do not know the country, Guayaquil is the second city in terms of population and I would say that it is the main city in terms of business. Here we had a “debt” in terms of our coverage and this was reflected in our marketshare. After intense work on the network, technology and marketing side, we strengthened our presence in this area, which gives us a very important growth potential. It was a project in Ecuador that we had thought of several times before, which we were able to realise together with our team.
And finally, we are in the process of renewing the concession contract with the State, which will allow us to bring more and more Ecuadorians closer to the benefits and potential of digitalisation. On 26 November, we were able to extend the contract for 10 months and we hope to conclude a definitive negotiation with the newly installed government in order to continue to be Ecuador’s digital ally.
What do you think Telefónica has contributed to society?
It’s a response I could write a book about, of all the positive aspects I’ve seen over the years. The main one, no doubt, is connecting people. No one doubts the benefits that connectivity and digitalisation bring to individuals and societies, from the vital fact of being able to talk on a mobile phone, to issues such as distance learning, telemedicine, remote work, and more “futuristic” issues (but which are already part of the present) such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, smart cities, among others. The pandemic showed that technology was the only enabler that allowed societies not to stand still, despite the confinements.
Another aspect that fills me with pride as a member of this company is our digital education and employability actions that we carry out at Fundación Telefónica. There are so many thousands of children and young people who have benefited, reducing the digital knowledge gap in so many parts of the world, which shows us how important our telecommunications networks are deployed around the world.
And I always highlight Telefónica’s contribution to the employees themselves. That unique DNA of those of us who work here, that business culture that we have sustained and strengthened for so many years, which places the main value on trust in each one of us so that we can contribute from our knowledge and areas to being one of the leading telcos in the world.
Where do you see Telefónica in the future?
As it has been until now. A benchmark company and a leader in the increasingly constant digital transformations we are experiencing as humanity. In these almost 100 years, Telefónica has been a visionary in aspects such as net neutrality, the sustainability of telecommunications in the face of OTTs, the importance of infrastructure sharing, the proper use of Big Data; and now it will continue to lead the debate on such uncertain issues as artificial intelligence and privacy. This strength, this hard-won weight will keep us going for a long time to come to ensure that technology continues to benefit human beings.
Could you live without a mobile phone?
Maybe for a couple of days. The mobile phone is a part of ourselves, as it allows us to always be close to those we care about. I could not now imagine my life without this device, which makes things easier for us, from sending a location to brightening up a grandparent’s life with a picture of his grandchild in some mischief.
Now the challenge for us as a society (and for us as a company) is to find the best balance in the necessary digital disconnection. Our motto is to make the world more human, connecting people’s lives. For this reason, the risks brought about by hyperconnectivity are a priority to address, so that the mobile phone is not a barrier to, for example, continuing to enjoy the magic of a family dinner or a meeting with friends.
Help us solve one of humanity’s great enigmas: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion?
There is no enigma here. The potato omelette WITHOUT onion… but it should not be too “dry” and the centre of the omelette should be a little more raw. Just as there is no enigma about the origin of the arepa. It is undoubtedly 100% Venezuelan and if any Colombian has an opinion to the contrary, he or she is fundamentally mistaken. Another enigma that I think I have solved over the years is how blessed people who have pets are. My Tito (a Jack Russell) is, without a doubt, one of the beings that gladdens my heart the most.
Nominate another colleague to appear in this section
What a difficult nomination! There are so many valuable leaders at Telefónica that I would like to read about them in this section! Perhaps Pilar Girón, our People leader at Hispam, to tell us more about the DNA and culture we have at Telefónica that has allowed us to combine our work and personal lives, and also Ana María Ramírez, Director of Operations and Transversal Processes at Hispam, who has the complex task of leading this digital transformation in our Region.