Alicia Koplowitz

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Alicia Koplowitz
Alicia Koplowitz 2018 (cropped).jpeg
Alicia Koplowitz in 2018
BornAlicia Koplowitz y Romero de Juseu
(1954-09-12) 12 September 1954 (age 64)
Madrid, Spain
Net worthIncrease$2.5 billion USD (March 2013)[1]
Spouse(s)Alberto Cortina (1969-1990, divorced)
ChildrenAlberto Cortina
Pedro Cortina
Pelayo Cortina
Parent(s)Ernesto Koplowitz
Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros
RelativesEsther Koplowitz (sister)

Alicia Koplowitz y Romero de Juseu (born 12 September 1954) is a Spanish business magnate and one-time noblewoman. 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,[2] and Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros, a Spanish aristocrat.[2] (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.[3]

Using his German language skills, her father first worked for the German electronics company AEG[3] and then in 1952, borrowing funds from a German friend,[3] purchased the construction company Construcciones y Reparaciones S.A. which he renamed Construcciones y Contratas S.A. (CYCSA).[2] 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.[3]

Alicia attended the Lycée Français and University Complutense of Madrid.[citation needed]


In 1962, her father died in a horse-riding accident[2] 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 daughters' benefit.[2][3] In 1968, Alicia's mother died of cancer.[3]

In 1969, Alicia's sister Esther married Alberto Alcocer and six months 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.[2] 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,[2] and 47 percent of Catalonia construction firm Fomento de Obras y Construcciones SA (FOCSA).[3]

In 1990, Alicia divorced Alberto Cortina[2] 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).[2] 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.[2]

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.[4] 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 fifth largest in Spain while its competitor Grupo ACS (with the sisters' 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.[4]

In 1998, Alicia created Omega Capital,[citation needed] a venture capital firm specializing in growth.[5] 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.[6]

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 de La Légion d'honneur of 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, Christie's Auction House, The Shimon Peres Center for Peace, Guggenheim 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 and the largest one in Spain, 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:[7]

  • Alberto Cortina (born 1971). Alberto studied law in Madrid and started his career at Banco Zaragozano. He now works in Omega Capital.[7] He holds the title Marquis de Real Socorro which his mother relinquished to him.[8] He is married to Inés Balmaseda, the daughter of the Count of Cumbres Altas.[7]
  • Pedro Cortina (b. 1972). Pedro started his career working at NH Hoteles. He is married to Bárbara Chapártegui, an interior decorator, with whom he has three children.[7] Pedro then founded and runs the hotel company Hospes with hotels in France and Spain.
  • Pelayo Cortina (b. 1985). He holds the title Count of San Fernando de Peñalver, gained in court to Fernando Fernández-Cavada y París, Count of La Vega del Pozo. 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 on the board of directors of several companies such as Northern Gold Mining and Engel & Volkers, among others.[9] He is married to Jane Coppée Vaxelaire, a Belgian Sotheby's art expert and granddaughter of the Baron Raymond de Vaxelaire, one of Belgium's most important industrial families.;[10]

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]

Between 2004 - 2006 Koplowitz was in a relationship with a Spanish aristocrat Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 19th Duke of Alba.[11][12][13][14] Since 2012 she has been in a relationship with a Portuguese businessman and aristocrat Miguel Pais do Amaral, Count of Alferrarede.[15][16]

Alicia was brought up Catholic by her mother and was for some years associated with the Legion of Christ.[17][18]

Her Cuban-born mother, Esther Romero de Juseu y Armenteros (died 1968), started a legal battle to obtain the Marquisate of El Real Socorro, which ended in 1971 with Koplowitz gaining the nobiliary title; her sister Esther obtained in court in 1988 the County of Peñalver.[19]

In March 2017 she lost in court the right to be called the Marquise of Bellavista after being sued by her Cuban-American distant cousin María Elena de Cárdenas y González, aged 97. The same month de Cárdenas also won in the Spanish courts the Marquisate of Almendares from another Cuban man, meanwhile in the previous month (February 2017), she gained the Marquisate of Campo Florido from Koplowitz's niece, Alicia Alcocer-Koplowitz.[20][21]


  1. ^ Forbes The World's billionaires: Alicia Koplowitz March 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ABC (Spain): "Las Koplowitz Las más ricas de España" by ISABEL GUTIÉRREZ (in Spanish) August 24, 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Independent: "Behind some great men, women who do it better: Two ladies of Spain are flourishing at the top of a construction empire after wresting it from their wayward husbands" by JUSTIN WEBSTER July 19, 1992
  4. ^ a b Alicia Koplowitz Es La Mujer Más Rica De España : Solidaridad.Net
  5. ^ BusinessWeek: "Company Overview of Omega Capital, S.L." retrieved August 13, 2013
  6. ^ Omega Gestión, la gestora española que más apuesta por la inversión libre
  7. ^ a b c d Invertia: "Los herederos más ricos de España" by RAMÓN GARCÍA May 23, 2008
  8. ^ "ORDEN de 11 de julio de 2000 por la que manda expedir Real Carta de Sucesión en el título de Marqués del Real Socorro". Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  9. ^ Northern Gold
  10. ^ El Mundo: "El hijo de Alberto Cortina y Alicia Koplowitz celebra boda y embarazo" (in Spanish) May 23, 2015
  11. ^ País, Ediciones El (2006-10-15). "Reportaje | Alicia Koplowitz y el duque de Huéscar, una relación de dos años". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  12. ^ "- EL MUNDO | Suplemento Crónica 483 - El cuento de Alicia y el duque". Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  13. ^ ABC. "El duque de Huéscar y Alicia Koplowitz no se casan | Gente | Gente -". ABC. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  14. ^ "Alicia y Esther Koplowitz, al fin juntas: amor, finanzas y conflictos familiares". Vanity Fair (in Spanish). 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  15. ^ Periódico, El (2013-08-27). "Alicia Koplowitz sale con un empresario portugués". elperiodico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  16. ^ "Alicia Koplowitz La movida version jet-set". (in French). Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  17. ^ "La mujer más rica de España comienza una vida spiritual" November 16, 1997
  18. ^ El Mundo: "La maravillosa fortuna de Alicia - La pequeña de las hermanas Koplowitz se ha convertido en la mujer más rica de España. En apenas cinco años, desde que rompió con Esther, ha triplicado su fortuna. Con cerca de 3.000 millones de euros, uno de sus caprichos es Goya" by JUAN LUIS GALIACHO 29 de febrero de 2004
  19. ^ Galán, Lola (24 November 2012). "Ser o no ser noble, he ahí la obsesión" (in Spanish). Madrid: El País. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Madrid, José (16 March 2017). "Alicia Koplowitz pierde su marquesado a manos de una nonagenaria cubana". Vanitatis. El Confidencial. Retrieved 28 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Fernando Sáinz de Inchaustegui e Irala, 7th Count of Alacha
Marquise of Real Socorro
1971–11 July 2000
Succeeded by
Alberto Cortina y Koplowitz
Preceded by
Enrique Romero de Juseu y Armenteros
Marquise of Bellavista
12 September 1984–6 March 2017
Succeeded by
María Elena de Cárdenas y González