2024 Spring Party

L-R: Susan Segal, José María Alvarez-Pallete, Agustín Coppel, Andrés Gluski.


Honoring Telefónica's José María Álvarez-Pallete and Coppel's Agustín Coppel Luken

Americas Society recognized the leaders of Telefónica S.A. and Grupo Coppel with the Gold Medal for their outstanding impact in the Americas.

New York, June 12, 2024 – Americas Society awarded the Gold Medal to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica, S.A. José María Álvarez-Pallete and to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Coppel Agustín Coppel Luken.

They received the awards at America Society’s 2024 Spring Party, held on Tuesday, June 11 at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City.

"The Gold Medal is our highest and most important honor. It is only awarded to those unique individuals who have made a true and outstanding impact in their country and in the hemisphere," said Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) President and CEO Susan Segal. "José María Alvarez-Pallete and Agustín Coppel Luken embody the very essence of the award and we are so proud and honored to recognize such amazing individuals," she added.

“Tonight, we honor Mr. Álvarez-Pallete with the organization’s highest honor for his unparalleled leadership as the head of one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, and his unwavering commitment to social inclusion and philanthropic endeavors, which has been nothing short of transformative,” said AS/COA’S Chairman and AES President Andrés Gluski.

“I receive this distinction on behalf of the 500,000 employees who have worked at Telefónica throughout its 100-year history,” said Álvarez-Pallete, who also stressed that “Telefónica cannot be understood without Latin America. One day our path took us to the region and since then we have changed and become a better company. We have done our job expanding connectivity, changing people's lives, and fostering growth and inclusion. Today we already serve more than 225 million customers in Latin America. The region has transformed us for the better and we continue to work to ensure that Europe and the Americas continue to move forward together.”

Susan Segal introduced Coppel Luken, leader of Grupo Coppel, the sixth-largest company in Mexico in terms of number of employees and one of the largest retailers in Latin America. She described him as “someone who is committed to transforming lives and building a better Mexico and world.” “We honor Agustín for his outstanding leadership, his commitment to sustainable development and for his impact on his country and Latin America through both his business and philanthropic endeavors,” said Segal.

“This award is a recognition of Grupo Coppel's firm commitment to financial inclusion, sustainability and our desire to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve,” said Coppel Luken. “We stand out because of our belief in freedoms, democracy and a solid relationship between Mexico and the United States. I am very grateful for this distinction that motivates us to continue building a better shared future.”

Previous recipients of the Gold Medal, first presented in 1977, include: David Rockefeller, Miguel Alemán Velasco, César Alierta, Luis Almagro, Pilar Arosemena de Alemán, Albert Bourla, Alejandro P. Bulgheroni, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Gustavo A. Cisneros, Marcelo Claure, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Oscar de la Renta, Antonio del Valle, Gina Diez Barroso, Jamie Dimon, Eduardo Eurnekian, Laurence D. Fink, Carlos Fuentes, Bruce Flatt, Enrique Iglesias, Muhtar Kent, Andrónico Luksic, Thomas F. McLarty, III, Manuel Medina Mora, Luis Alberto Moreno, Stanley A. Motta, Peter Munk, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Brian J. Porter, William R. Rhodes, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, Roberto Egydio Setubal, Mario Vargas Llosa, Lorenzo H. Zambrano, and Ernesto Zedillo.

About the honorees:

José María Álvarez-Pallete joined the Telefónica Group in 1999 as a General Manager of Finance for Telefónica Internacional, and later that year he became Chief Financial Officer of Telefónica S.A. In 2002 he was appointed Executive Chairman of Telefónica Internacional. Between 2006 and 2011 he was Managing Director of Telefónica Latinoamérica. He was appointed Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe in 2011, and Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica, S.A. in 2012. He is Chairman & CEO of Telefónica S.A since April 2016 and he joined the board of directors in July 2006. In February 2022 he assumed the Presidency of Fundación Telefónica. Also, since March 2019 he is member of the Advisory Council of SEAT, S.A., since February 2022, Chairman of the Board of the GSMA and member of Board of Trustees of ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation and, since May 2022, Chair of ERT’s Committee Jobs, Skills & Impact.He began his professional career with Auditors Arthur Young in 1987, before joining Benito & Monjardín/Kidder, Peabody & Co. in 1988. He joined CEMEX in 1995 and, in 1998, he was promoted to Chief Administration and Finance Officer of the CEMEX Group Indonesia. He has a degree in Economics from the Complutense University of Madrid and he also studied Economics at the Free University of Brussels, in Belgium. He holds an International Management Programme from IPADE. Among many other distinctions, in 2016 he was named “Best CEO” in Spain by Forbes Magazine and the Consejo Superior de Deportes granted him the entry in the “Royal Order of Merit Sports” in the category of Bronze Medal. In 2019 he was granted with the “Cross of Military Merit with white distinction,” he received the “Manager of the Year” award in the Large Corporations category granted by the Asociación Española de Directivos and was chosen “Business Leader of the Year” by the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce. In 2020 he was awarded with the ECOFIN prize for “Financiero del Año” and the Spanish Marketing Association has named him “Lider Empresarial Impulso del Marketing”. In 2021, he was named “Honorary Ambassador of Spain Brand” by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum and Actualidad Económica has recognized him as "Best Businessman of the Year." In November 2023, he received an honorary degree from CEU San Pablo University and was named “Business Person of the Year 2022” by the UPF Barcelona School of Management. Since January 2024, he is a Trustee of Fundación Amigos de la Alhambra.

Agustín Coppel Luken serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coppel Group, the sixth-largest company in Mexico based on its number of employees. As the youngest of seven brothers, he is the second to lead the company established by his father, Enrique Coppel Tamayo. After being appointed CEO in 2008, the number of company stores increased from 634 to 1700 currently, through acquisitions and organic growth. He has led the e-commerce implementation alongside an ambitious business innovation within the company. During this period, new fast-growing businesses such as Coppel Motos and Coppel Leasing were established. Financial Services, in Coppel Group, has grown exponentially in the recent period as well. Like the rest of the company, it has undergone an aggressive digital transformation, turning both the bank and the pension fund into significant players in the sector. Under his leadership in 2021, the Coppel Foundation was established, becoming one of the most prominent foundations in Mexico, aiming to create opportunities for social mobility in the country. Beyond his role in the family business, he possesses extensive expertise in founding companies and investing in various sectors including financial services,biotechnology, energy, agriculture, entertainment, retail, and marketing across Mexico, the United States, and Europe. He serves as president on several Administration Councils and has been an active participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, since 2008, where he contributes significantly due to his diverse interests and analytical insights. In philanthropy, Coppel Luken is one of Mexico's most active entrepreneurs, committed to enhancing education, culture, ecology, and progress. In 1990, he alongside with his wife established the Isabel & Agustín Coppel Contemporary Art Collection, supporting artists and museums to promote Mexican art and culture. Additionally, he is a member of the Rufino Tamayo Museum Foundation and serves on the Contemporary Art Committee of the Art Museum of Philadelphia. His philanthropic efforts have earned him numerous accolades, including the Promotion of Arts Award from the José Limón Dance Company of New York in 2011, the "Philanthropist of the Year" recognition from the Raising Funds Professionals Association, and the MontBlanc Award of the Culture Arts Patronage from the MontBlanc Foundation. In 2017, Coppel Luken received the Education Leadership Award from the non-profit organization Worldfund for his contributions to education. He was also acknowledged as a "Notable Mexican" by Endeavor Mexico in 2018 and received the Entrepreneur Excellence Award from Forbes magazine in 2020.

Press contact: mediarelations@as-coa.org