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When he took over as chairman of Telefónica in 2000, Cesar Alierta inherited a telecom group saddled with nonperforming assets. After writing off more than 16 billion euros relating to a messy merger of its Internet unit with U.S. company Lycos and the acquisition of UMTS telephone licenses, last year Telefónica was ready to resume a growth strategy. Earlier this year it beat out other European competitors for a majority stake in the Czech Republic's Cesky AS. But Alierta vows not to sacrifice shareholder remuneration in favor of growth: In 2003, he reinstated the company's dividend and now pledges to buy back 6 billion euros worth of Telefonica stock by 2008. Today, Telefónica is the world's third-largest telecom by market cap.

Company Info

Revenues* $39.7 BILLION
Revenue Growth 8.5%
Return on Equity 27.5%
Total Return21.1%
Profits* $3.9 BILLION
All figures are for the most recent available 12 months.

* Latest available data for the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, Jan. 31, Feb. 29, Mar. 31, or Apr. 30. For companies that do not report quarterly, the most recent annual data were used.

Data provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat, BusinessWeek

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Company Snapshot

Telefónica, S.A. operates as a telecommunications group in Spain and Latin America. The company’s principal services include traditional fixed line telecommunication services, wireless communications services, Internet and broadband services, data services, audiovisual content and media services, and wholesale services for telecommunication operators. In Spain, the company provides fixed line public voice telephone services, wireless communications services, Internet access services, and data transmission services. In Latin America, it has operations principally in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. In addition, Telefónica engages in publishing, development, and sale of advertising in telephone directories, as well as in the operation of contact centers in Spain, Latin America, and Morocco. The company has strategic relationships with Terra Networks, S.A. and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. Telefónica, S.A. was incorporated in 1924 and is based in Madrid, Spain.

No. of Employees


Data provided by Capital IQ
César  Alierta Izuel

César Alierta Izuel


César Alierta Izuel has been the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Telefónica S.A. since July 26, 2000. Mr. Alierta Izuel began his career in 1970 as General Manager of the Capital Markets division at Banco Urquijo in Madrid until 1985. From June 1996 until his appointment as Chairman of Telefónica, he served as the Chairman of Tabacalera S.A. which after the merger with the French tobacco company, Seita, became Altadis. He served as Chairman and founder of Beta Capital, which he combined with his post as Chairman of the Spanish Financial Analysts' Association as from 1991. He has been Director of Telefonica SA since January 1997 and has been appointed as Director of Telefónica Internacional (TISA), Plus Ultra, Terra and Iberia and also serves as a Member of the Standing Committee of the Board of Directors. During his years as Chairman of Tabacalera, Mr. Alierta Izuel served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Logista, a subsidiary of the Altadis group. Mr. Alierta Izuel serves as a member of the Altadis Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He has been a member of the Board of Directors and Standing Committee of the Madrid Stock Exchange. Mr. Alierta Izuel holds a Law Degree from the University of Zaragoza and an MBA from Columbia University (New York).