Alicia Koplowitz, 7th Marquise of Bellavista

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Alicia Koplowitz
Born Alicia Koplowitz y Romero de Juseu
(1954-09-12) September 12, 1954 (age 60)
Madrid, Spain
Nationality  Spain
Ethnicity Spanish mother;
German father
Occupation Businesswoman
Net worth Increase$2.5 billion USD (March 2013)[1]
Religion Roman Catholic [2]
Spouse(s) Alberto Cortina (USD 1.4b) (1969-1990, divorced)
Children Alberto Cortina
Pedro Cortina
Pelayo Cortina
Parents Ernesto Koplowitz
Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros
Relatives Esther Koplowitz (sister)

Doña Alicia Koplowitz y Romero de Juseu, 7th Marquise of Bellavista (born 12 September 1954) is a Spanish business magnate. When her father died, she and her sister inherited Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. (CYCSA), a company founded by her father. She then sold her part of the company to her sister and created one of the largest family offices in Europe called Omega Capital. She ranks as Spain's richest woman in Forbes 2013 World's Richest People list (#589 in the world).

Early life and education[edit]

Alicia was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1954, the second and youngest daughter (after Esther, born in 1953) of Ernesto Koplowitz Sternberg, a Jewish businessman from Upper Silesia (Germany) who settled down in Spain to escape the increasing German Nazi persecution in the early-1930s,[3] and Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros, a Spanish aristocrat.[3] (Alicia and Esther inherited their titles from their mother. Alicia is Marquesa de Bellavista and Marquesa del Real Socorro while Esther was Marquesa de Casa Peñalver, a title now inherited by one of her daughters). Her parents married in 1950 in a Catholic ceremony.[4] Using his German language skills, her father first worked for the German electronics company AEG[4] and then in 1952, borrowing funds from a German friend,[4] purchased the construction company Construcciones y Reparaciones S.A. which he renamed Construcciones y Contratas S.A. (CYCSA).[3] He slowly built the company, carefully cultivating relationships during the precarious Franco era, and when Spain experienced a construction boom in the early 1960s, the company flourished.[4] She attended the Lycée Français and University Complutense of Madrid.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

In 1962, her father died in a horse-riding accident[3] and her mother enlisted Ramón Areces, a close friend of her father and the president of El Corte Inglés S.A., the largest department store chain in Europe, to run CYCSA for her and her daughter's benefit.[3][4] In 1968, Alicia's mother died of cancer.[4] In 1969, Alicia's sister Esther married Alberto Alcocer and six month's later, Alicia married Alberto Alcocer's cousin Alberto Cortina, the son of Pedro Cortina Mauri, foreign minister during the Franco period and founder of the beer brand San Miguel.[3] The sisters gave up their board seats to their husbands and the "Albertos", as they were known, made the firm grow spectacularly from 1973 onwards and diversified acquiring real estate, Banco Zaragozano,[3] and 47 percent of Catalonia construction firm Fomento de Obras y Construcciones SA (FOCSA).[4]

In 1990, Alicia divorced Alberto Cortina[3] after he was photographed by paparazzi in 1989 with another woman (Marta Chávarri, then wife of Fernando Falcó, marqués de Cubas, who Esther would later marry in 2003).[3] At the same time, Esther also found that her husband was having an affair and divorced six months later. In 1990, the sisters returned to the board of CYCSA filling the seats vacated by their husbands. Their husbands received ownership of the Banco Zaragozano as part of the divorce settlement.[3] In 1992, CYCSA merged with 'Fomento de Obras y Construcciones, S.A. (FOCSA) forming the largest construction company in Spain. The company was renamed Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas S.A. (FCC). In 1998, Alicia sold her 28,26% stake in FCC to her sister Esther for 871 million euro.[5] When Alicia left FCC in 1998, FCC was the largest construction and services company in Spain with nearly the sales of the next largest. In 2012, FCC had dropped to 5th largest in Spain while its competitor Grupo ACS (with the sister's ex-husbands Alberto Cortina & Alberto Alcocer among its largest shareholders) is now the largest construction and services company in the world.

Since then, Alicia has diversified her investments, mainly through Private Equity, blue chip companies in the stock exchange, oil and real estate (such as the Ritz in Madrid, the Park Hyatt in Milan and commercial and office buildings all over the US), advised by Oscar Fanjul (a former ex chairman of Repsol). She has an estimated fortune of 3,000 million euro.[5] In 1998, Alicia created Omega Capital,[citation needed] a venture capital firm specializing in growth.[6] Omega Capital is an investment company 100% owned by Alicia Koplowitz.[citation needed] The first investment in funds of hedge funds was made in 1999.[7]

Philanthropy and awards[edit]

She has created two foundations: Fundación Vida y Esperanza (in 1994), that helps children, adolescents and young adults with social, family and financial problems with housing, education and work. The foundation now has approximately 100 people receiving full-time aid in Spain. Through a different branch of Vida y Esperanza she also gives housing and support to the elderly, helps people with special needs and works with other foundations.[citation needed]

Through her charitable foundation Fundación Alicia Koplowitz she sends Spanish fellows to research in child psychiatry in England and the U.S. at places like King's College, Columbia University's Medical Center or Stanford University. These fellowships cover the full research, housing and salary for 2 to 4 years and then help the fellow seek employment at a top institution when they return to Spain. The Foundation also organizes every year the largest convention for psychiatry in Spain where top scientist from all over the world come during one week to give lectures and make round tables and debates. In 2009 she was named an honorary member of the Spanish Society of Psychiatrists for her efforts to promote the study and development of child and adolescent psychiatry. Thanks to her efforts, the Spanish State recognized child and adolescent psychiatry as different specialization within general psychiatry in Spain.[citation needed]

Alicia Koplowitz also promoted, built and donated to the State the largest hospital in Europe specialized in multiple sclerosis in 2004 (Alicia Koplowitz Multiple Sclerosis Hospital).[citation needed]

Among her distinctions and awards, she was awarded the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil (May 2003), Chevalier of La Légion d'honneur de France (Knight of the Legion of Honour of France), the prize for the recognition of her career from the State of Madrid in 2007 (Premio Persona Singular de la Comunidad de Madrid), the Gold Medal from the Spanish State in 2009 and the Gold Medal from the Red Cross in 2013.[citation needed]

She is a member of several organizations, universities and foundations such as Member of the Board of the following organizations: L’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs ”UCAD” de France, The Shimon Peres Center for Peace, Gugghenmheim Museum, Prado Museum and The Prince of Asturias Foundation and Prize. She is also a Member of the Board of trustees of University Charles III of Spain.[citation needed]

She is known to have one of the most important art collections in Europe art collector, her favourite pieces are by Goya, Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Rotko and De Kooning among others.

Personal life[edit]

Alicia has three sons with Alberto Cortina:[8]

  • Alberto Cortina (born 1971). Alberto studied law in Madrid and started his career at Banco Zaragozano. He now works in Omega Capital.[8] He holds the title Marquis of Real Socorro which his mother relinquished to him.[9] He is married to Inés Balmaseda, the daughter of the Count of Cumbres Altas.[8]
  • Pedro Cortina (b. 1972). Pedro started his career working at NH Hoteles. He is married to Bárbara Chapártegui with whom he has three children.[8] Pedro he then founded and run the hotel company Hospes with hotels in France and Spain.
  • Pelayo Cortina (b. 1985). He holds the title Count of San Fernando de Peñalver given to him by his mother. Pelayo studied Industrial Engineering and Management at Northwestern / Kellogg University in Chicago, USA. After having worked for Lehman Brothers Private Equity, Arcelor Mittal Strategy and Societe Generale Natural Resources, he now works in Ecofin Global L/S Fund. He is in the board of directors of several companies such as Northern Gold Mining or Engel & Volkers among others.[10] He is the only brother who is not married yet.

Alicia is known to have a very low key way of life and an extremely discreet social life. It is rare to see her at any social event besides the ones organized by her foundation and she always uses commercial airlines when traveling.[citation needed]

Alicia has been a member of the Catholic organization Opus Dei and was brought up Catholic by devout-Catholic mother.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros
Marquise of Real Socorro
?-11 July 2000
Succeeded by
Alberto Cortina y Koplowitz
Marquise of Bellavista
?-present
Incumbent
Countess of San Fernando de Peñalver
?- 2007
Succeeded by
Pelayo Cortina y Koplowitz