The Cuatrecasas Foundation has announced the fourth edition of the Manuel Olivencia Award for Good Corporate Governance in recognition of the best corporate governance practices by Spanish listed companies. The panel will consider the value of the corporate governance actions being assessed, their importance in the decision-making process, their influence on third parties and if they could be a reference model, as well as the competing company’s creation of sustainable value. The award ceremony will be held in early 2022.
In this edition, special attention will be paid to aspects related to the structure, composition and functioning of the different committees of the board of directors, as key elements of support to define corporate strategy, formulate corporate policies, and perform the board of director’s task of supervision and control.
An independent and prestigious panel presided over by Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, chair of Santander Universities and Sanitas, and a member of the award’s panel since its creation, will decide on the winning company. This year, the panel of experts that will decide on the award winner has a new member: María Benjumea, founder and CEO of Spain Startup.
This award honors the memory of the late Manuel Olivencia, a 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.
About the panel of experts for the Manuel Olivencia
Award for Good Corporate Governance The panel is made up of 15 members, all well-known and highly recognized individuals in Spain’s business and legal spheres. It is chaired by Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, who also chairs Santander Universities and Sanitas, holds a Bachelor of Economics by the Complutense University of Madrid and is a member of the Body of Commercial Technicians and State Economists.
The members of the panel are as follows: Juan Arena, former chair of Bankinter and member of the board of Meliá Hotels International; Francisco Ballester, honorary partner at Cuatrecasas; María Benjumea, founder and CEO of Spain Startup; Eva Castillo, former chair of Telefónica Europa and Merrill Lynch Spain and Portugal, and member of the boards of Bankia and Zardoya Otis; Óscar Fanjul, vice chair of Ferrovial; Rosa María García, independent member of the board of Mapfre; Cristina Garmendia, chair of the Cotec Foundation and member of the board of CaixaBank; Ignacio Gil-Casares, external proprietary director of Merlin Properties and member of the appointments and remuneration committees; Luis Isasi, chair of Santander Spain and senior advisor at Morgan Stanley; Consuelo Madrigal, former attorney general; Francisco Pérez-Crespo Payá, partner at Cuatrecasas; Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, partner at Cuatrecasas and former deputy prime minister of Spain; Alfonso Sánchez-Tabernero, dean of the University of Navarra; and Antonio Zoido, chair of Bolsas y Mercados Españoles (Spanish company dealing with the organizational aspects of the Spanish stock exchanges and financial markets) and chair of the Madrid stock exchange. Rafael Hidalgo, counsel at Cuatrecasas, is non-member secretary; José Luis Rodríguez Jiménez, partner at Cuatrecasas, is director of the award; and Macarena Olivencia, counsel at Cuatrecasas, is honorary chair.
Previous editions of the Award
Since its first edition in 2018, the award has become a reference point 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, to Amadeus IT Group in 2019, and to Inditex in 2020.
In the past three editions, the panel highlighted the winners’ composition of their boards of directors, which have an ample majority of independent directors, including their chairs. The panel also valued their investor relation policies, the duration of the directors’ term of office, the selection and training policies for the directors, and the transparency in remuneration matters. In 2020, the panel particularly 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 the vocation of teaching from his chair of commercial law with the desire to share knowledge from his professional work in Cuatrecasas, as a partner of the firm. His impressive curriculum as a lawyer, university professor, undersecretary of education, commissioner of the Expo 92 universal exposition in Seville and chair of the commission that drafted the Olivencia Code, is complemented by his personal trajectory and the indelible memories he left his family, friends, students, colleagues and everyone who knew him.
He accumulated wide recognition throughout his life, both in Spain and abroad, as he was a very cosmopolitan man who studied and lived in several countries. Olivencia received many awards, including several Spanish Grand Crosses, such as 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.
About the Cuatrecasas Foundation
The Cuatrecasas Foundation, created in 1991, focuses its activity on projects relating to rule of law and access to justice in line with the United Nations Global Compact and the Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. The foundation’s flagship activities are the Manuel Olivencia Award for Good Corporate Governance, the Manuel Olivencia Scholarship and the creation of the Spanish Pro Bono Foundation, a platform including a wide representation from the legal world to develop pro bono projects in Spain.