The XVI Spain-Italy Dialogue Forum is to be held in Madrid on 5 and 6 November, under the presidency of CEOE on the Spanish side and the AREL Foundation, as the representative of the transalpine country, and coordinated by the former president of the Council of Ministers of Italy and current dean of the School of International Relations Sciences Po in Paris, Enrico Letta, and the former president of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Congress of Deputies, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida.
During the Forum, the XXII edition of the Tiepolo Awards will be presented, on the evening of 5 November at the splendid Santoña Palace, the institutional headquarters of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
This prestigious acknowledgement is awarded jointly by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Spain (CCIS) and the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE) to successful entrepreneurs from Spain and Italy for their contribution to the development of economic and commercial relations between both countries. This year it is to be awarded to Antonio Hernández Callejas, chairman of Ebro Foods, and Luigi Lana, chairman of Reale Group.
The Spain-Italy Dialogue Forum has been held almost every year since 1999, bringing together important personalities from the Spanish and Italian political, business and civil societies, with the aim of guiding and strengthening collaboration between the two countries.
The Madrid event will be attended by senior institutional officials and numerous representatives of the economic and business world from both countries to discuss issues such as synergies in innovation, European investment in Latin America and the configuration of a logistics platform and investment between the Mediterranean countries and Africa, among other topics.
The Spanish and Italian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi and Josep Borrell i Fontelles, and the Ambassadors of both countries, Stefano Sannino and Alfonso Dastis are expected to participate, and the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, Pedro Saura García will participate in the closing session.
The co-chairman of the Forum and president of AREL, Francesco Merloni, and the co-chairman of the Forum and president of CEOE, Juan Rosell, will also participate.
Antonio Hernández Callejas, the driving force behind the international consolidation of Ebro Foods and its expansion in Italy
Antonio Hernández Callejas (Tudela, Navarre, 1955), is the chairman of Ebro Foods, the largest food group in Spain by turnover, global leader of the rice sector and second pasta manufacturer worldwide.
With a BA in Economics and Business Studies from the University of Seville, Antonio Hernández embarked on his career in 1979 in Arrocerías Herba, an enterprise founded by his grandfather that owned brands such as La Fallera, Brillante and Cigala, among others. After the Ebro Group had fully taken over the company, Antonio Hernández was appointed director, vice-chairman and member of the Group’s Executive Committee in January 2002 and became a key figure in the company’s transformation and international expansion.
In March 2004, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company, and in April 2005, Executive Chairman. After several significant purchases and sales on a national and international scale, including the sale of the sugar and dairy businesses, between 2010 and 2011 the Group bought the SOS rice businesses, thus consolidating its leadership in countries such as Spain and the United States and branching into new international markets, such as the Middle East.
Under Antonio Hernández Callejas’ chairmanship, the Group has risen to world number one in the rice sector and the second global pasta manufacturer, taking positions in forty countries within Europe, America, Africa and Asia with a portfolio of over 70 brands.
The Group has made several major acquisitions in Italy in recent years. Between 2013 and 2016, Ebro Foods bought a 40% stake in Riso Scotti for €31.5 million. It also owns 100% of Mundiriso Srl from Vercelli. In 2014, the group acquired 52% of the capital of Pastificio Garofalo (which owns the Garofalo, Santa Lucia and Russo di Cicciano brands) for €62 million, while in 2017 it secured 52% of the Italian firm specialising in the processing and production of food ingredients, Geovita Functional, and its subsidiary Geovita Nutrition, for €16.5 million. The latest acquisition in Italy was made in the first quarter of this year, when it took a 70% stake in Pastificio Bertagni, for €130 million, stepping up its growth in the fresh pasta sector and becoming the second producer worldwide in this segment.
The Tiepolo Award is the latest of a number of prestigious acknowledgements obtained by Antonio Hernández throughout his professional career. He has also received, among others, the distinction of Knight of the National Order of Merit, awarded by the French President (2007), the Gold Medal of Seville (2014) and the Joly Group’s Award for Innovation in the Food Industry (2015).