This profile is taken from the upcoming Top 100 Executives 2020 Leaders League special report.
Ignacio Galán is a dealmaker extraordinaire. And his shopping spree shows no sign of abating. Recent deals completed by Iberdrola include the acquisition of French renewable energy company Aalto Power for €100m and the acquisition of a majority stake in eight projects from Svea Vind Offshore AB in Sweden. In addition, Iberdrola has also been involved in a battle with Philippines-based UAC Energy to acquire Australian renewable firm Infigen Energy.
The acquisition of Aalto Power is an important step towards Iberdrola’s goal of acquiring one million customers in France by 2023, while the investment in the Swedish projects has the potential to improve access to a massive market given that the country’s government aims to have 100 per cent of its electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2040. Galán’s single-minded pursuit of a deal for Infigen evidenced his willingness to do whatever it takes to land his targets as Iberdrola waived all outstanding conditions in its efforts to secure the deal.
Buy buy, sell sell
However, while Galán has been keen to snap up assets, he has shown he is equally willing to make disposals or sell stakes in projects if he sees fit – recent sales included: the offloading of a 40 per cent stake in East Anglia One (EAO), the offshore wind project the company is building in the British North Sea; the sale of the company’s 8.1% stake in Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy; and the sale of all its long-term LNG supply contracts to Singapore’s Pavilion Energy.
Seventy-year-old Galán’s furious dealmaking is reaping dividends for the company. Iberdrola is leading the transition towards a sustainable energy model, largely as a result of its investments in renewable energy, smart grids, large-scale energy storage and digital transformation. As a result, its customers have beenable to take advantage of the most advanced products and services. In addition, the company’s commitment to clean energy means Iberdrola is a company with very low emissions and, consequently, is seen as an international benchmark with regard to its contribution to the fight against climate change. Galán was one of the few business leaders to take an active role in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 held in New York, where he urged world governments to turn words into actions on the subject of emissions reductions.
Meanwhile, Galán’s shrewd wheeler-dealing has had no adverse effect on Iberdrola’s balance sheet. The company’s revenues climbed from €31.2 billion in 2017 to €36.4 billion in 2019, while EBITDA grew from €7.3 billion in 2017 to €10.1 billion in 2019. It’s clear that, to use the terminology of poker, Galán has a highly developed sense of exactly when to hold and when to fold.
With regard to his leadership style, Galán – who is a father of four – Galán has been described as a “good communicator, open and friendly”. He places significant emphasis on the importance of motivation when seeking to get the best out of people, which he views as the company’s most important asset. Galán is viewed as a tireless worker with firm convictions who is as demanding with himself as he is with his teams.