She is the youngest daughter of Juan Roig, co-founder and president of Mercadona. Juana Roig Herrero (1984) jumped to the forefront of Spanish business and economic news on Tuesday in a somewhat innocent way. With a interview granted to the Itnig podcast, Juana Roig broke with one of the traditional hallmarks of the firm, not granting interviews to the media, and decided to review all the current elements of the Mercadona spin-off that she has directed since 2017; Mercadona Tech, the division of the leading supermarket in Spain that manages the chain’s online sales.
Married and mother of a girl, Juana Roig, graduated in Business Administration and Management, trained in other great Spanish empires and fond of ballet, Villarreal CF, a soccer team owned by her uncle Fernando Roig, and running, she did not avoid any question from the two journalists who interviewed her. It is true that at no time did he stray from the traditional script marked by his father to refer to internal issues of the company and the family that owns it, but just the fact that he did so immediately raised expectations for everything that surrounds his father, Juan Roig.
So far, his task so far has not been easy. In 2017, the management committee of the chain commissioned him to change what at that time his own father had described as “shit”.
His task was to invent a modern online sales model that could compete with the experience of going to a company store and straighten the course of an activity that, before his arrival, generated losses for the company of 40 million euros per year. and it only represented 1% of their sales. With his father’s encouragement and control very close to him. “Making a better website than the one we have is not very difficult”, which criticized the appearance and operation of the old Mercadona website, after the announcement of its update in 2016.
Today, according to Mercadona Tech’s own website, Juana Roig leads a team of 180 technology professionals and coordinates the work of more than 2,000 people who make it possible for a click on her website to receive the purchase at home one day later, confirming the motto that he has had written and hung on one of the ceilings of the offices of the technology subsidiary: “Selling lettuces since 2018” (Selling lettuces since 2018, in its Spanish translation).
And his invention, and that of his collaborators, as he defines his team, immediately successfully underwent the most important professional challenge he has ever had from a management position. Brilliantly surfing the home confinement of their clients during the years of the pandemic and therefore the massive purchase from home.
And now, in the midst of a process of galloping inflation and a rise in food prices that has not been seen for a long time, he faces the challenge of convincing customers that it is worth paying a little more than seven euros to take you shopping at home rather than going directly to the store.
Before all this, his professional experience was limited to a modest activity in the jewelry market and a few years at Inditex, under the tutelage of Amancio Ortega.
Her appointment five years ago to direct Mercadona’s technological commitment meant that she was immediately placed as a future candidate to replace her father, when he decided to retire.
In fact, a movement, a couple of years ago in Herrecha Inversiones, the estate in which his mother and Juan Roig’s wife, Hortensia Herrero, concentrates 29.58% of the Mercadona shareholding, paid for that assumption, never confirmed even by the company or by his own father.
Hortensia Herrero decided to abandon the sole administrator model of her company and appoint a board of directors in which her four daughters became directors.
In addition to this position on the board of Herrecha Inversiones, Juana Roig is also a director of Mercadona and is part of the audit committee of the board of directors. With which, in theory, Juana Roig was closer and fit a little more into the profile of her successor. A path that, keeping all the distances, resembles the one that Marta Ortega was also in charge of following when she began the process of replacing her father, Amancio Ortega, as the first executive of Inditex.
She knows it. In fact, in the interview in the aforementioned podcast, when asked if the time would come when she would run for president of the company, she allowed herself the luxury of abandoning for a few seconds the script that for these cases marks Mercadona’s iron discipline, and With a look at the ceiling accompanied by a deep sigh, he assured: “Would I like that? (to be president). Well, when that time comes, we’ll see. Mercadona is a very big challenge”.
It’s not a yes, but it’s not an absolute no either. One more nod that he allowed himself to show before returning to the company’s mantra: “In Mercadona, ownership is inherited, but management is not.” A detail that will undoubtedly be analyzed when the issue of his father’s succession arises (Roig is currently 73 years old) in the task of selling lettuce online and “filling the guts of the bosses”, a term with which Mercadona is used. identifies customers.
Although for the moment, “and hopefully for a long time”, his role is very clear. He defines his father as a bull and acknowledges that “everyone who sees you, doesn’t see you, sees the daughter of…. But it’s something I don’t complain about, everything I’ve done at Mercadona I did it online because I had that last name. You also take advantage of a bit of that well-used power.”
Change of model
Growth. Today, five years after his appointment, Mercadona Tech has five warehouses (hives in the company’s internal terminology) in Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante and Seville, from where it delivers orders to its customers’ homes. The company has invested more than 70 million euros in this network, to which must be added the investment of another 19 million in the purchase of a fleet of 400 trucks.
Income. Since 2018, when Mercadona decided to start redefining its online shopping service, the company has so far increased its sales to 530 million euros.
Duality of systems. At the start of the activity, Juana Roig opted for the orders to be served from the hives to the homes of the ‘bosses’. But in certain areas, with less concentration of orders, she has chosen to develop a preparation and delivery model from the stores themselves. This mechanism is in force in some 18 stores in the provinces of Castellón, Lleida, Girona, Almería and Murcia
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