The covid has been a blow that has pushed the economy back to the level of two or three years ago. But for the internal revolution of companies it has meant the opposite, a fabulous leap forward. “It has been a time machine”, defended the president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete. He, like his counterparts from Santander and Inditex, Ana Botín and Pablo Isla, described this Wednesday at the XXXVI Economic Circle Meeting the “exponential acceleration” that the pandemic has meant for the three companies, which would have been impossible to resist, they pointed out. , if huge technological investments had not been made in recent years.
The three executives, whose presence is a great bet by the Círculo de Economía to give greater business patina to their traditional annual meeting, had no doubts about what the economic recovery of Spain will be like after the pandemic. All have coincided in predicting growth in these years higher than the official forecasts of between 6% and 7%. “Spain is going to get off the map”, has bet Botín, who has placed the increases in the coming quarters to 8% or 9%, an estimate assumed by Isla. The president of Santander has raised more doubts about the rebound than the economy can perform next year. All three executives have trusted that growth to two factors. On the one hand, the vaccination rate. On the other, the arrival of reactivation funds.
“In 15 days we had 130,000 people working remotely and there we realized the importance of infrastructures,” said Botín, who highlighted the adaptation made by Santander to automate the granting of 940,000 ICO credits. O Isla, which has highlighted the importance of boosting online sales at a time when 95% of the network of stores of the giant owner of Zara or Massimo Dutti was closed. If Isla has said that “sales on-line they have skyrocketed as if we had advanced three years ”, Pallete has gone further:“ In five weeks we advanced what would have been advanced in five years ”. The president of Telefónica has defended that his clients “forgave things that at other times they would not have forgiven us.”
Botín – who with a certain irony has once passed the word to his two colloquium colleagues with a “the men you are still in charge of” – sees a before and after after the pandemic. At the bank, he announced, more flexibility will be given to the staff and explained a personal feeling: “I felt guilty if I worked on a Friday afternoon from home.” In any case, there are skeptics about whether everything that was earned in remote work will stay. “There are things that are not digitizable,” said Pallete. Isla, in defense of the more physical model of the business she runs, has underlined the same idea: “There are things that have changed and others that have changed less than we think.”