22 DE marzo DE 2018
Ricardo Migueláñez. @rmiguelanez
We're kicking off the year with a feature on Paulo Soares, Regional Managing Director of Southern Europe for Campofrío Food Group. This 52-year-old, who originally hails from Lisbon, has held this post for two years, representing one of Spain's most famous companies, a subsidiary of Sigma Alimentos and part of Mexican group Alfa since 2014.
Soares has a degree in Business from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa de Lisboa (ISCTE) and has three decades of professional experience in different areas, such as consulting, the automotive industry, and consumer goods.
He started out in 1988 at Arthur Anderson's Industry division in Lisbon as the head of multiple audit and consulting projects around the world, a position he held for six years. He then changed tack and joined Rieter Automotive Systems, a manufacturer of components for the automotive industry, where he was Financial Director for three years.
He entered the consumer goods segment in 1997 when he became the CFO of Nobre, Portugal's leading meat company, which at that time belonged to the US multinational Sara Lee Corporation. After two intense years, he was named Chairman and CEO of Nobre, which he led for ten years, strengthening its position as an industry leader in Portugal. The company underwent important changes during that period, including the entry of Smithfield Foods and investment management firm Oaktree into the shareholder structure in 2006, changes which did not impact growth of the company's market share.
It merged with Campofrío España at the end of 2008, giving rise to Campofrío Food Group. Soares played an active part in the merger and he remembers the period fondly as Campofrío went from being an admired and respected rival to part of the family.
After that he faced his biggest challenge, in summer of 2010, when he was invited to move to Madrid, where the company was based, to be the Chief Finance & IST Officer and a member of Campofrío Food Group's Executive Committee.
He was asked to start a new life with his family in less than four weeks—an opportunity for an experience outside of his comfort zone, working for a large, listed company with ambitious organic and inorganic growth plans. It was an offer he couldn't refuse.
After five very intense years in those roles and another change in the shareholder structure with the Mexican group's entry, he became Campofrío's Chief Regional Managing Director for Southern Europe, leading Portugal, Spain and Italy, with top brands such as Nobre, Campofrío and Fiorucci. Moreover, having lived through the Burgos factory fire in late 2014, and being part of the crisis management efforts, having the opportunity to drive the recovery of the company and its market share in Spain was very appealing.
He says he is "very happy in Madrid" and, beyond spending time with family and friends, he has two passions which lead him to Lisbon quite often: going to the beach, and Benfica, "the best football club in the world," according to Soares.
As far as I know, and from those who know him tell me, after more than 20 years in the sector, Soares is an expert, but also a fan, of consumer goods and food. His main qualities are his strategic vision, respect for values, initiative, his focus on getting things done, and his meticulous approach to planning strategies, negotiating and decision-making; however, leadership, proximity and a desire to make progress and work as a team are what he likes most... so, at the end of the day, "nothing and no one keep us from enjoying life the way we like to".