José María Álvarez-Pallete
Courtesy of Telefónica



Chairman / CEO

Since taking the reins as Telefónica’s CEO five years ago, Álvarez-Pallete has worked to reduce debt for the Spanish telco, which has seen its market capitalization fall from $370 billion in 2007 to $25 billion in early 2021. To accomplish this, he’s sold off assets including telecommunications towers in Europe and Latin America owned by its Telexius subsidiary that were purchased by American Tower Corporation for $9 billion in cash in January 2021. The following May, he won regu­latory approval from the U.K. government for Telefónica’s $44 billion merger of its British mobile company O2 with Liberty Global’s Virgin Media, creating a 50-50 joint venture with 46 million video, broadband and mobile subscribers in the U.K., poised to take advantage of the rollout of 5K broadband.


  • Benito & Monjardín/Kidder, Peabody & Co. (DEFUNCT)
  • Arthur Young Auditors (DEFUNCT)
  • Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España


  • Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)
  • Free University of Brussels (Belgium)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2018 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2019 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2020 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Spain’s Telefonica Announces Measures to Aid in Struggle Against COVID-19 Spread

Spain’s Telefonica Announces Measures to Aid in Struggle Against COVID-19 Spread

MADRID -- Telefónica, Spain’s largest telecommunications company, has announced a series of immediate and free-to-the-public initiatives in response to the country’s ongoing struggles with the Covid-19 breakout.In a surprisingly personal press release sent Tuesday, company chairman/CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete outlined the company’s plans to aid in that struggle.“Throughout our almost century-old history, Telefónica has experienced crisis situations at different times and in different countries. We know that in times of crisis, communication networks and tools are more crucial than ever....


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