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Pablo Isla Alvarez de Tejera

Former Chairman & Chief Executive, Inditex

He used to run the world’s largest fashion retailer, overseeing eight global brands including Zara.


From 2005 to 2022 Isla served as the chief executive of Inditex — the world’s largest fashion retailer. Isla was responsible for the organisational structure from design and manufacturing to distribution and sales. 

Despite leading the way in fast fashion Isla’s commitment to sustainability is clear. He had pledged to eliminate toxic chemicals from its supply chain by 2020, and had innovative systems in place to ensure clothing wastage was kept as low as possible.

Isla is a law graduate from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Isla began his professional career in 1988 as attorney general of the Spanish Military of Transport, Tourism and Communications, and in 1991 he joined the Spanish General Direction of Legal Services. From 1992 he was director of legal services for Banco Popular, where he went on to serve as its general secretary from 1998-2000. For the next five years, Isla held the position of chairman of the Altadis tobacco group, where he stayed before being made deputy chairman and chief executive of Inditex in 2005, followed by being made chairman in 2011. He left Inditex in 2022.

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.