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Ricardo Delgado Vizcaíno

Ricardo Migueláñez. Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez

Ricardo Delgado Vizcaíno is currently president of one of Spain's leading cooperatives, which operates in various segments, including milk and dairy, cold cuts, Ibérico hams and fresh meat.

He was born in Pozoblanco (Córdoba) in 1956 and is the son of the founder of COVAP (Cooperativa del Valle de los Pedroches), with whom he shares both his name and surname. He has a law degree and, after passing the civil service exam, became a deputy tax inspector with the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Finance, a position he held for 3 years in Lucena, 5 in Córdoba and 2 in Madrid. He is currently on sabbatical.

He has directed COVAP's legal services since late 1996, and has been the trustee-manager of the Ricardo Delgado Vizcaíno Foundation.

Although he never expected to take the cooperative's reigns, the decision by the president and vice-president not to run for re-election and the unanimous vote by members in his favor led to his appointment in 2008.

A lot of time has passed since Ricardo was born and a group of stockbreeders joined forces to jointly sell their lambs, both events occurring in practically the same year. A seed was planted, and it flourished in 1959 with the creation of a cooperative comprising 22 members and a visionary who involved hundreds of people in a project that today reports revenues of over 373 million euros (2013 data) and directly employs 600 people.

The cooperative currently sells its products through the COVAP brand although, in the case of dairy products, it is an exclusive supplier of Mercadona supermarkets, for which it produces milk that is later sold under the store’s, Hacendado.

Up-close and personal

The first time I met Ricardo, he was relaxed and friendly, and it was clear that he was genuine, unlike other people who are polite because they have to be; in fact, he has been friendly in all of our encounters. He's one of those people who cares about others, and if he can, he's willing and able to help.

From a professional perspective, he faces more challenges in managing a company like COVAP because of his father, since he is often expected to act like him, but it's important to note that the situation today is very different from 1960.

The last time I saw him was at the Agro-Alimentarias Cooperatives fair in Valencia, and we spoke about the challenges of the current situation, but how everything was progressing nonetheless. A company like COVAP can play an important role on Spain's agri-food scene—if it wants to—in the current context in which cooperatives are operating, and especially in view of the series of mergers in recent months. Will there be any surprises in the Pedroches Valley?

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