Alberto Lapuente (Lic&MSC 17): “The greatest challenge in family firms involves people managment”

July 12, 2021 10:22 am

Alberto Lapuente is associate director in the Lapuente Group, a responsibility he assumed when he finished his studies at Esade and now tackles decisively at the helm of his company’s international growth. He is very involved in the Esade community and now a member of the Young Commission and Esade Alumni Social.

Generation succession

You are associate director in the Lapuente Group. Was it always your desire to join the family firm? How was the shift from student to executive?

Not everyone has the chance to work in their own company, and I always thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I originally intended to work in other companies for a few years, after finishing my degree and master, to gain experience I could then apply in the family firm but certain family circumstances obliged me to take the plunge earlier than expected and I joined the firm immediately after completing my master.

What have the greatest challenges been? How has Esade helped you?

When you work with your family, the biggest challenge is usually knowing exactly where to draw the line between the family and the firm. It’s not just a matter of changing jobs but a generational succession that can give rise to quite different opinions that, when combined with overconfidence, can be damaging. I found the life-long learning provided by the Esade Alumni Family Firm Club very helpful for defining succession procedures and drafting the family protocols so essential for a seamless transition beneficial for the company and family relationships.

What plans do you have for the future?

Right now my plans for the future are focused on defining the group’s international growth strategy. What began as a small company with just 10 employees now operates around the world and exports half of its production. The Spanish market is rather saturated and we must continue to grow internationally, providing solutions for our customers.
In the next few years, the biggest challenges could be data analysis, digitalisation and the automated production. In any case, I believe that the greatest challenge in family firms involves people management. The ability to create a team of professionals you can trust, lead them towards your goals and do everything necessary to retain this talent in your company: these are the keys to success. This is the team that will subsequently deal with the challenges mentioned above.

Committed to the community

What made you want to take part in Esade Alumni?

My experience as an Esade student was very enriching in many respects, not just in academic terms. I was very involved in the Esade community from the outset through student associations. I didn’t want to lose contact with the university and my colleagues, and I thought that Esade Alumni was the best way to keep in touch.

Why did you get involved with the Young Commission?

Esade Alumni undoubtedly provides countless activities for all sorts of interests but most of them were for somewhat older participants and we also noticed that the involvement of the youngest members could be improved. And who better than the youngest members to improve it?

What Tell us about your experience as a giving-back consultant?

A couple of years ago I started taking an interest in projects being carried out by Esade Alumni Social in Latin America but coronavirus made me sideline this. A few months ago they asked me to give some marketing advice to a team of giving-back consultants working on a project for a non-profit association and I volunteered immediately. The opportunity to work with my team (with more senior profiles) and learn from their experience and put forward my point of view was very enriching in many respects, without forgetting that we were also enabling a non-profit association to help more people.

What do you think younger alumni can contribute to a community as diverse as Esade?

The management world is being completely revolutionised. Both the markets and the ways of operating in them regularly undergo changes and the youngest of us are well equipped to deal with them thanks to our cutting-edge training. This highly disruptive outlook plus the know-how and experience of more senior profiles, are a perfect combination to continue sharing in the Esade Alumni community.