In this year’s edition of the Manuel Olivencia Award, the panel highlighted CaixaBank's exercise in transparency and accountability, its relationship with its shareholders and other interest groups, the composition of its board of directors—analyzed in terms of diversity—and the remuneration policy for board members. The panel paid particular attention to the existence and dissemination of a competency matrix as the tool for analyzing the strengths and needs of the board’s composition.
CaixaBank’s chair, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, received the award on behalf of the financial institution giving thanks for the award, which recognizes CaixaBank’s commitment to best governance practices. “Excellent corporate governance founded on solid principles and values is a necessary condition for the sustainability of any project. And that means having a professional and united board working towards a common goal, with transparency, responsibility and loyalty. This award acknowledges the institution’s commitment, enthusiasm and involvement, particularly of CaixaBank’s entire board, to achieving excellent governance, and it encourages us to continue meeting the best market standards,” said José Ignacio Goirigolzarri.
The award’s director, José Luis Rodríguez, said the following during his opening and closing speeches: “In this edition, the panel particularly considered matters related to board composition and diversity as a means of ensuring a better decision-making process, which considers a greater number of factors and views, leading to a better result. This is particularly necessary in today’s increasingly complex and changing environment.”
Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría explained the reasons behind the decision to grant the award to CaixaBank: “The company stands out for its efforts to promote fluid and bidirectional communication with its interest groups. In addition to its commitment to transparency, we also valued other factors positively: the clarity of its remuneration model, the inclusion of ESG metrics in executive directors’ variable remuneration, the existence of clawback and malus clauses, and the aligning of contract termination payments with market expectations. The panel valued how CaixaBank offers a complete competency matrix, which enables it to check the assessment of the necessary skills and the adjustment of those needs with the qualifications and experience of its board members. The panel prioritized the high level of independence of the board where, in addition, 40% of members are women, showing its commitment to equality. Also, its good governance practices favored the successful integration carried out with Bankia.”
This award honors the memory of the late Manuel Olivencia, humanist and professor of commercial law at the University of Seville, vice chair of Cuatrecasas and chair of the committee that drafted the first Spanish Code of Corporate Governance in 1998, known as the Olivencia Code.
CaixaBank is the leading financial group in Spain and a major player in Europe, with total assets of over €611 billion. It also has a strong presence in Portugal, where it controls 100% of Banco BPI. The group has 20 million clients, the largest network of offices and ATMs in Spain and Portugal, and is a leader in digital banking with over 11 million digital clients.
CaixaBank’s vision is that of an innovative financial group with a banking model based on quality, proximity and specialization; and a value proposition of products and services tailored to the needs of each sector. Its leading position in retail banking enables it to play a key role in contributing to sustainable economic growth.
About the panel of judges for the fifth Manuel Olivencia Award
Made up of 10 independent experts of recognized standing from Spain’s business and legal world, the panel was chaired by Matías Rodríguez Inciarte.
The members of the panel were: Juan Arena, María Benjumea, Óscar Fanjul, Rosa María García, Cristina Garmendia, Ignacio Gil-Casares, Luis Isasi, Francisco Pérez-Crespo Payá and Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. In addition, Rafael Hidalgo was non-member secretary, José Luis Rodríguez, the award’s director, and Macarena Olivencia, honorary chair.
During the process of discussion and voting for the nominations, the panel followed the procedures established in the award rules and the internal regulations and, particularly, the rules applicable to situations involving conflicts of interest, thus avoiding panel members voting in favor of companies if there are possible incompatibilities.
About previous editions of the Manuel Olivencia Award
After just five editions, the award has become a benchmark for the recognition of corporate governance best practices by listed companies in Spain. The Manuel Olivencia Award for Good Corporate Governance was awarded to the International Airlines Group (IAG)
in 2018, Amadeus IT Group
in 2019, Inditex
in 2020 and Repsol
In each edition, without prejudice to analyzing the level of general compliance with the main corporate governance recommendations, the panel paid particular attention to certain factors, such as board structure and operation, remuneration transparency, and the structure and composition of the board’s committees. As an exception, in 2020, the panel especially valued aspects related to good governance during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Manuel Olivencia
Manuel Olivencia was an accomplished lawyer who combined his vocation for teaching from his chair of commercial law with the desire to share knowledge from his professional work at Cuatrecasas, as a partner of the law firm. His impressive professional curriculum as a lawyer, university professor, undersecretary of education, commissioner of the Expo 92 in Seville and chair of the committee that drafted the Olivencia Code, is supplemented by his personal trajectory and the indelible memories he left in his family, friends, students, colleagues and everyone who knew him.
As a cosmopolite who studied and lived in different countries, he received many acknowledgments throughout his life, both in Spain and abroad. Among his many awards, Olivencia received several Spanish grand crosses—the Civil Order of Alfonso X “the Wise,” the Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic, the Cross of Military Merit, the Cross of Saint Raymond of Penyafort, and the Cross of St. George of Catalonia. He was named Favorite Son of Ronda and Adopted Son of Seville, and received the Gold Medal of Ceuta, where he spent part of his childhood.