You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alvarez-Pallete to Replace Alierta at Spanish Giant Telefonica

Telco's new exec chairman to face challenges of digital revolution

MADRID — Cesar Alierta, one of Spain’s most powerful businessmen, will step down as executive chairman of Spanish telco giant Telefonica after almost 16 years at the helm.

He will be replaced by Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, currently chief operating officer and Alierta’s right hand man, whose appointment will be confirmed at Telefonica’s next board of directors meeting on April 8.

The succession was proposed by Alierta, 70, “who considers Alvarez-Pallete as the best prepared executive to face the challenges arising from the digital revolution,” the company said Tuesday in a statement.

Alierta will remain as a member of Telefonica’s board of directors, focusing on social projects aiming for progress, such as digital education, and on the executive chairmanship of Fundacion Telefonica, the telco added.

Leading Telefonica since July 2000, after the ousting of former topper Juan Villalonga, Alierta diversified and expanded Telefonica, transforming it from a simple player in the the telco sector in Spanish-speaking countries into becoming a global communications operator that plays a leading role in key territories, especially Germany, Brazil and Spain. Its tentacles also spread over much of Latin America.

Currently, the telco has a presence in more than 20 countries, with some 330 million clients. About 80% of Telefonica’s operating profits comes from the international businesses.

One of the crucial challenges facing Alvarez-Pallete (Madrid, 1963) as new exec chairman will be to monetize at a profit the strong investments in film, TV and digital rights the company is now making as it aims to become one of the four biggest audiovisual content operators worldwide, as Alierta emphasized last year.

In Spain, the telco operates Movistar Plus, country’s big local VOD service with 3.7 million subscribers by year-end 2015, after gaining regulatory clearance for the acquisition of Prisa paybox TV Canal Plus Espana. Telefonica Studios, the telco’s film and TV production arm, has developed an already strong and growing presence in movie production in Spain and Argentina.

In total, Telefonica has 8.3 million pay TV subscribers. Under the Movistar TV brand, the telco competes at pay TV markets in Central America, Colombia, Peru and Chile, while in Brazil it owns paybox Vivo. Telefonica also has a controlling stake in Argentine broadcaster Telefe, a leading and increasingly international player in Latin America’s film and TV production sector.

Further challenges for Alvarez-Pallete include the ever deeper economic and political crisis in Brazil, Telefonica’s second biggest market after Spain, and a positive resolution by European Union’s anti-trust authorities over the sale of British telco O2 to Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa. If that goes through, Telefonica will have the cash, despite a significant debt load, for further expansion.

More TV

  • Leslie MoonvesCBS Upfront Presentation, New York,

    Cybill Shepherd Alleges Leslie Moonves Made Romantic Advances

    Actress Cybill Shepherd, who once starred in the CBS sitcom “Cybill” alleged in a recent interview that former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves propositioned her while they were dining at a restaurant. “His assistant and my assistant made a dinner date and we went to it and he was, well he was telling me his wife [...]


    Diego Luna, Scoot McNairy to Return for 'Narcos: Mexico' Season 2

    Both Diego Luna and Scott McNairy are set to star in “Narcos: Mexico” Season 2, reprising their roles from Season 1. Production recently began on the second season of the series, which is the fifth season total of the “Narcos” franchise. Luna was recently honored with a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for best actor in a [...]

  • Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift in concert at

    Taylor Swift 'Reputation' Concert Film to Hit Netflix on New Year’s Eve

    Taylor Swift today announced that she is “gifting the world front row seats to the last show of the U.S. leg” of her “Reputation” tour with a concert film that will premiere on Netflix New Year’s Eve. “This epic concert film features pyro, fireworks, multiple stages and of course, a 63 foot cobra named Karyn,” [...]

  • New TV Adaptation of Kids' Classic

    New TV Adaptation of Kids' Classic 'The Velveteen Rabbit' in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

    The writer of upcoming BBC and Netflix series “Watership Down” and the producers behind hit animated specials including “The Gruffalo” are adapting the classic children’s tale “The Velveteen Rabbit” for TV. Magic Light Pictures and Tom Bidwell are in development on the project and already talking to broadcasters. For U.K.-based Magic Light, it will mark [...]

  • Smithsonian subscription VOD

    Smithsonian Networks Launches New Subscription VOD Service, Folding in Smithsonian Earth

    Smithsonian Networks has expanded its push to reach cord-cutters with the launch of Smithsonian Channel Plus, promising subscribers 1,000-plus hours of streaming nonfiction programming for $5 per month. The new subscription VOD service incorporates and supersedes Smithsonian Earth, the company’s $3.99-monthly SVOD service that launched three years ago, which had been geared around nature and wildlife. [...]

  • 'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings

    'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings at Home

    With its international rollout well underway, the critically acclaimed TV series “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s bestselling “Neapolitan Novels,” is scoring strong ratings at home in Italy, and is also playing well in the U.S. and U.K. The show, which explores the bounds of female friendship, is being [...]

  • Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC

    Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC Adaptation of Man Booker Prize Winner ‘The Luminaries’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie have joined “The Luminaries,” with production now underway on the highly anticipated series adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel. The pair join Eve Hewson (“The Knick”), Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”) and Marton Csokas (“Into the Badlands”) in the period piece. The high-end drama is being produced by Working [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content