Federico Linares calls for a humanist capitalism at the inauguration of the academic year at Esade

Federico Linares calls for a humanist capitalism at the inauguration of the academic year at Esade

Business 02 November 2022

Do Better Team

Esade has officially inaugurated the 2022/23 academic year with a ceremony featuring Federico Linares, chairman of EY Spain and Europe West Talent leader, who gave a master class to the school’s students.  

Jaume Guardiola, president of the Esade Foundation Board of Trustees, introduced the event, welcoming the 1,800 new students, two thirds of whom are international. Xavier Mendoza, director general of Esade, reminded the students that this year they will be embarking on “a journey of both professional and personal transformation.”  

As the event’s guest of honor, Linares reviewed in his speech the values and principles acquired in a career spanning more than thirty years. He began with a moving remembrance of his father, from whom he inherited his principles of competence and professional excellence, who also taught him to value “the greatness of humility.” 

The executive urged the new generations of professionals to have “the courage to learn.” He himself changed Malaga for New York to work in the field of international taxation in New York with hardly any knowledge of English or international taxes. “At first, it was the worst six months of my life. I took a risk, but ultimately it was far outweighed by the benefits,” he said.  

Linares also stressed the importance of “not losing sight of our vision and personal mission in life” and reiterated his call for “a humanist capitalism, in which people are the backbone of everything.” He likewise advocated “a three-way social compact, between industry, government, and civil society.” 

“In the future, you will have the responsibility to exert your influence to create social impact,” he warned the new students. “If the president, the board, or the CEO of a company does not believe this, no worker will,” he said.  

Josep Rom, rector of Ramon Llull University, gave the closing remarks, noting, “The future has always been uncertain; the question is how we manage it.” “There are many possible futures,” he added.  

“Success makes us weaker” 

Do Better spoke with Linares to delve deeper into some of the topics addressed at the event, including the role of business in society, the types of leadership the world needs, or the value of professional success and failure.  

Regarding this latter point, Linares believes that “success makes us weaker, because it leads to complacence,” while failure should be valued more highly, because “it is one of the best learning opportunities.”  

Linares also believes that today’s leaders must be able to manage in both the short and long term, “tactics and strategy.” It is likewise essential for them to champion the company’s social mission. “If these values are not embodied at the highest level of the organization, they do not really exist,” he said.  

A “fair, balanced, and transparent” environmental transition and ensuring employee well-being in the workplace are, in his view, some of the most important challenges facing the business world. But for him, the top priority is to tackle “the social challenge of growing inequality.” 

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