Although a ballot was initially planned, the President of CEIM, Juan Pablo Lázaro, requested the floor to suggest an election by acclamation.
In the end, the Assembly decided on this procedure and, following his election, Antonio Garamendi received an ovation from all the members present, whom he addressed briefly to express his gratitude for the appointment.
More than 700 delegates were summoned to the Electoral Assembly, in which Juan Rosell reviewed his accomplishments during his terms as president of Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) and wished his successor the best. He acknowledged the consensus achieved and the transparency imposed within the organization. During his speech he also warned about what he believes is “the greatest reform pending, that of the Public Administrations.”
Speech by Antonio Garamendi as new President of CEOE
“Today is a very special day for CEOE and also for me”. The new President of CEOE said in his first speech as the head of this institution by pointing out that “today is an important day”. “For the new President of CEOE, the words enterprise and entrepreneur are part of his DNA”, he stated at the event held in IFEMA’s Palacio de Congresos. “Going back to my four great-grandfathers as well as my wife’s, they were all entrepreneurs. I have seen an entrepreneurial spirit around me since I was a little boy”, he recalled during his address to the Confederation’s Electoral Assembly.
“I would first like to thank my family: my wife and children”, he said, adding, “we all have to thank our families for being understanding when he spend so many hours following our vocation, working for our society”.
Next he acknowledged the work of José María Vizcaíno, founder and former president of the Basque employers’ federation, who passed away in March 2005, and José María Cuevas, “the person who understood me, gave me the space I needed and, in addition to his experience, gave me wings”.
He also had special words for the 45 dead, 50 kidnapped and 10,000 extorted by terrorism in Spain, who received a warm applause by the attendees.
“CEOE celebrated its 40th anniversary last year because a group of entrepreneurs had the strategic idea of thinking about the future”, he said, adding that “today, 41 years later, it is time to talk about principles”.
As guidelines to his speech, he listed five principles: Spain, Entrepreneurs, Meeting, Evolution and Spirit.
Garamendi spoke of a “Spain without hang-ups”. “At this Assembly, I’ve requested to have, next to the Spanish flag, the constitutional flags of all the Spanish regions”, he said. “The Spain we fight for is a modern Spain, integrated in Europe.”
“On behalf of all of our country’s entrepreneurs, I want to show our support and loyalty to the Crown, to Felipe VI, King of Spain” he stressed.
He said he intends to place young entrepreneurs at CEOE’s centre axis: “I still feel like a young entrepreneur. We are going to encourage young entrepreneurs to go around Spain promoting entrepreneurship”. He also asked for a second chance for those entrepreneurs who suffered the crisis: “They are on the unemployment queue, but they cannot collect any benefits”. Furthermore, “we have to raise awareness in society so that more entrepreneurial vocations are pursued.”
Regarding the word “Meeting”, he said that “CEOE is comprised of hundreds of thousands of companies”. He talked about “businessmen with a face and eyes”, from all over Spain and in all kinds of industries. “We represents those who walk the red carpet and those who don´t, who constitute the majority”, he pointed out.
“Sometimes we have regional or sectoral conflicts, but we always manage to achieve common positions; this is something that CEOE has been doing for the last 41 years,” he said.