Fene extends his mandate to ensure the independence of the Foundation.

Isidre Faine will continue to be a key person for the future of the most important private group in Spain. And he will do this as president of Criteria Caixa, the investment arm of the La Caixa Foundation. Fane extends his mandate in the organization for another four years to guarantee the independence of the Foundation, which may be threatened by a political situation in which the government is making important concessions to independent actors whose goals, whether recognized or not, have always been controlled by the most important institution in Catalonia.

The state and La Caixa own shares in both Caixabank and Telefónica. Solvent sources claim that a few weeks ago Fane decided to continue in his position after a change made by the legislature and given the government’s decision to become the first shareholder of the telecommunications company. This Thursday the society re-elected him as president.

Fane’s goal is to ensure that political pressure does not dictate the location of Caixabank’s headquarters, which independent backers want to return to Catalonia. For the past few months, Jants has been pushing for this to happen. It should be remembered that these parties supported the appointment of Pedro Sánchez as president of the government in exchange for a series of political promises, from amnesty to regional debt write-off.

Given this, it appears that Phenet has adopted a phrase attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola: “in times of trouble, do not change.” That is, in a political situation like the current one, the president of Criteria decided to continue to lead. Sanchez knows Fine doesn’t want him to succumb to that pressure. But he is even more concerned about the possibility of the Fund becoming dependent on the Generalitat rather than the Ministry of Economy, which, although not openly discussed, is among the demands of the pro-independence parties.

On the other hand, Fane is aware that the state’s position in Caixabank and Telefonica requires it to maintain a fluid relationship with the government.

Criteria Caixa owns about 6% of Telefónica shares (together with CaixaBank), and Fane is a member of the operator’s board of directors and turned 30 this Friday. Faine joined Telefonica’s board of directors at a time when the state was still a shareholder of the company and when the operator’s main business was landline telephone communications. However, Telefonica’s business model has evolved over the past 30 years. But it remains a strategic company, especially in defense and cybersecurity.

And this is where his support for Sanchez comes into play. One of the main issues for Telefonica at the moment is the return to the state, through SEPI, of the right to become the main shareholder of the company.

The government ordered the public body to buy up to 10% of the operator’s share capital to prevent STC, Saudi Arabia’s main telecoms operator, from becoming Telefónica’s main shareholder. September 5, STC entered into the Spanish company’s stake, acquiring a 9.9% stake. telecommunications company for 2,100 million euros.

But the Saudis still do not have this percentage, since the operation ended with the acquisition of 4.9% through direct shares and 5% through financial derivatives, which still needs to be approved by the government due to its strategic nature of Telefónica. Except, It is not yet known whether STC will apply for a position on the Telefónica board of directors. In 2024, the operator must renew five positions on the board of directors, since the mandates of Peter Löscher, Veronica Pascual Boe, Claudia Sender Ramirez, José Javier Echenique Landiribara and Isidro Faine himself end on June 12 this year. .

Sources familiar with the situation say Pedro Sanchez’s boss has been “conscientiously reviewing the operation in recent weeks.” Because the maneuver is not easy. The government must find a way to finance the $2,000 million that will be needed to increase Telefonica’s stake to 10%.. The financing plan is developed by the ministries of economics.

Until that moment comes, Fine will work with the government at Telefonica, as close sources indicate he prefers the government to the Saudi investment fund. However, the government has not told the Council what it wants to do with Telefonica. What is clear is that José María Álvarez Pallete continues to hold the presidency with the support of Pedro Sánchez., who considers him a professional businessman. It is known that Moncloa is looking for a figure in the top management who will have significant institutional weight when he becomes its first shareholder. Therefore, as already published IndependentIt is possible that a non-executive president may be created.

The cards are on the table. To ensure the independence of the Foundation, Isidre Faine is interested in maintaining good relations with the government, although he will always give priority to ensuring that decisions taken have purely business criteria. The state’s share in CaixaBank rises to 16.1%, which amounts to just over 5 billion euros and is the result of the merger of the enterprise with Bankia, which received state aid in the amount of 24,069 million euros.

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