On 25 October a ‘Friendship Lunch’ was held at the Campo de Marte Military Casino, organised by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, where a number of Mexican personalities and entrepreneurs were acknowledged as ‘Friends of Spain Brand’ in Mexico.
These awards, supported by the Spanish Government through the High Commissioner’s Office for the Spain Brand and the Spanish Embassy in Mexico, aim to recognise foreign personalities and institutions that have contributed to or significantly supported the image of Spain in a certain country or region and promoted trade and/or cultural relations. This is the eighth edition of the awards and the first in Mexico. They have previously been held in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow, London, Miami, Tokyo and Dubai. It is an initiative of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, the public-private organisation that also names Honorary Ambassadors of Spain Brand every two years.
The Spanish Ambassador for Mexico, Luis Fernández-Cid, and the Chairman of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, Ángel Larraga took part in the event. Larraga highlighted the number of Spanish companies doing business in Mexico (over 5,000) and the positive relationship that exists between companies from the two countries.
The event was also attended by the Government High Commissioner for Brand Spain , Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, who congratulated and thanked the Friends of Brand Spain in Mexico and reiterated how difficult it was to choose them “as Spain has so many friends in Mexico”. The Chairman of the Leading Brands of Spain Forum, José Luis Bonet, also highlighted the work of the Friends of Brand Spain in Mexico, “people linked to Spain in some way, who defend and promote our culture, our common language, our sport, and our business exchange. People who not only help us to project a positive image of Spain in Mexico, but who also strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries”.
Furthermore, on behalf of all the award winners, Valentín Díez Morodo said, “We feel proud as this is an acknowledgement of our hard work and our activities in favour of Mexican-Spanish relations,” and an “incentive” for them.
The winning Friends of Brand Spain at the ceremony were:
- Valentín Díez Morodo, Mexican entrepreneur of Spanish origin, Chairman of the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE), the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness, and co-owner of the Modelo brewery group until its sale in 2012. He is considered one of the most powerful and influential personalities in every area of Mexican society.
- Antonio del Valle, Mexican businessman of Spanish descent and patron of the Princesa de Asturias Foundation. Ranked the seventh wealthiest person in the country, he runs the Mexichem and Kaluz groups in the petrochemical and finance industries. He is also the main shareholder of the financial group Bx+, 6% of which is owned by Banco Popular.
- Antonio Suárez, a businessman from Asturias based in Mexico, owns of one of the most important tuna businesses in the world, Grupomar. He is also a patron of the Princesa de Asturias Foundation, is on the panel of judges for its Concord Award, and is a patron of the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation.
- Lino de Prado, a key entrepreneur in Mexico who over the course of his career has opened (and maintains) exceptional channels of communication of great value for Spanish companies and their promotion in the country. He has business interests in the hotel industry and is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Zara Mexico.
- Hugo Sánchez, former Mexican footballer and manager, considered one of the best strikers in the history of Real Madrid. Named best player in North and Central America in the 20th century by IFFHS, he played for Mexico 75 times. He took part in three World Cups (Argentina, Mexico and the USA) and one American Cup (1993), in the runner up team.
- Guillermo González Nova, Chairman of Comercial Mexicana, one of the largest self-service chain stores in Mexico.
- Antonio Cosío, Chairman of the Las Brisas hotel group and Chairman of the Pando group.
All the award-winners were presented with a statuette designed by Lladró symbolising the friendship between the two countries.
On the previous day, at the Spanish Cultural Centre in Mexico, a ceremony was held to recognise the ‘Friends of Brand Spain ’ in Mexico, an award given by the Spanish brands themselves, the purpose of which is to publicly recognise Mexicans and Mexican businesses that have been outstanding for their connection with or support of Spanish brands in their international expansion. In this context, the Spanish Office of Brands and Patents (OEPM) acknowledged its Mexican counterpart, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), as a Friend of Brand Spain.