Rafael del Pino y Moreno was one of Spain’s leading entrepreneurs of the 20th century. He held a PhD in Civil Engineering and in 1952, he founded Ferrovial. He chaired the company for the next 48 years. Following Mr. del Pino’s successful business career, he founded Fundación Rafael del Pino in 1999 and, a year later, he handed the reins of Ferrovial to his son, Rafael del Pino y Calvo-Sotelo. At that time, he was appointed Honorary Chairman of the company. In a long and distinguished business career, Rafael del Pino y Moreno was chairman of a number of companies, such as Europistas, Enagás and Philips Ibérica. He was also a founder member of Círculo de Empresarios and he chaired construction industry group SEOPAN and the Board of Instituto de la Empresa Familiar (IEF).
Following his first steps in the construction industry, Rafael del Pino launched his own project in the autumn of 1952. First, he traveled around Europe to see how railway lines were built in other countries. In Germany, he purchased, for the equivalent of 6,000 euros, the necessary machinery to export the system to Spain. “A million pesetas of the time; a tidy sum,” he said. With the new tools and “a great deal of enthusiasm and determination”, Rafael del Pino founded Ferrovial. His first office was in an attic near the Jerónimos church in central Madrid.
Focusing initially on repairing track and sleeper fixing, Ferrovial obtained its first project in the province of Burgos. It would be followed by many others across the length and breadth of Spain. The company soon began to move abroad, and in the 1960s it built roads, hydroelectric plants and water treatment plants. The construction of the Bilbao-Behobia toll road was a milestone in the company’s development – its first move into the transport infrastructure concession business.
Despite the crisis in the 1970s, Mr. del Pino spearheaded a move to internationalise Ferrovial and diversify into infrastructure concessions, real estate development, municipal services and infrastructure maintenance.
Since then, Ferrovial has established itself as the world leader in innovation and sustainable management that Mr. del Pino imagined in 1952. The company now operates in more than 40 countries, employs some 100,000 people and drew revenue of more than 14 billion euro in 2007.
Rafael del Pino often insisted that his success lay in finding capable colleagues who shared his enthusiasm for expanding the Group, guided by principles such as “serving society, the love of a job well done, hard work, austerity in spending, ploughing profits back into the business, constant adaptation to a changing society” and “keeping our sights firmly on the future”.
In 2000, he handed the reins of the company to his son, Rafael del Pino Calvo-Sotelo, and was appointed Honorary Chairman. He then devoted his time to the Foundation that bears his name, with the aim of “giving back to society part of what society gave to me in my personal and professional life”.
During his extensive career, Mr. del Pino also presided over other companies such as Europistas, Empresa Nacional del Gas (Enagás) and Philips Ibérica. He was a founder member of Círculo de Empresarios (1977) and chairman of trade group Seopan, a member of the executive standing committee of Banco Central Hispano Americano, chairman of the Board of Instituto de la Empresa Familiar, Director of Asociación para el Progreso de la Dirección and member of the board of trustees of the Camilo José Cela Marqués de Iria Flavia Foundation, among other positions.
By his own merits, Rafael del Pino was a leading figure in the industry, to which he transmitted his ideals and his enthusiasm and entrepreneurship. He received some of the highest civil distinctions, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, the Gold Medal of Merit in Work, the Gold Medal of Spain’s Royal Academy of History, the Gold Plaque of the Royal Spanish Academy, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Castilla-La Mancha.
He also received numerous distinctions from the private sector, including “Construction and Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Best Entrepreneur Track Record” and the Gold Medal of the Spanish Road Association. In 2006, he received the XIX Juan Lladó Award, granted by Instituto de Empresa and the Ortega y Gasset Foundation in recognition of outstanding sponsorship of culture and research.
In 1999, his interest in the world and his passion for entrepreneurship led him to found the Rafael del Pino Foundation in order to “contribute to enhancing the knowledge of Spain’s future leaders, foster individual initiative and promote the principles of the free market and business freedom. Our leaders have shown that tenacity and hard work can lead you to a position of excellence in any field of knowledge and professional and business endeavour. It is important to enable them to develop their skills successfully in an increasingly globalised world, where competitiveness is vital.”
“We all have an important job to do: ensure that the knowledge we inherited, with the valued added by us, will continue to be transmitted to future generations. This viewed from the perspective of service and through our dedication, work and sacrifice. And if we use our knowledge to improve the welfare of others, we will have done our duty and contributed a little to facilitating co-existence of the Earth’s inhabitants”.
“You’ve got to do things with love,” he would tell his collaborators. “With a cool head, but with a very warm heart; otherwise it’s not worth doing”.
He left us in 2008.