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Mr. Enrique Pérez Flores
Founder and Honorary Chairman of La Zagaleta Company
at his holiday residence at La Zagaleta, Spain
Edition 1

Mr. Perez Flores


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In the garden at the home of the chairman of La Zagaleta, Enrique Pérez Flores, time seems to stand still. When evening falls, the horizon stretches out like a canvas on which, yet another day, a huge ball of fire refuses to be extinguished somewhere beyond the immensity of the sea. Between the shades of blue of the sky and the vast waters below, you can make out the Strait of Gibraltar and beyond, the coast of Africa. In this idyllic setting, surrounded by the hills of the Serranía de Ronda, Enrique Pérez Flores opens the doors to his home and to his life. Co-founder and chairman of La Zagaleta, Mr. Pérez Flores is a man who has earned great prestige and respect thanks to years of hard work. Among other high-profile posts, he was Director of Commerce in the Economic Delegation of Spain’s high commission in the former Spanish protectorate of Morocco, until the country became independent. In 1960, he moved to Zurich (Switzerland) – where he now lives – where he founded Banco Exterior Suiza, of which he was Chairman. Mr. Pérez is a tenacious, consistent and punctual man who always fulfils his commitments, and who claims that one of the secrets of his success is to “study each project in detail and never leave anything to improvisation”.


In a few words, how would you describe yourself?
Tenacious, constant, punctual, someone who always meets his commitments.

What does it mean for you to be Chairman of La Zagaleta?
The satisfaction of having broken established moulds (drastic reduction of buildable area) and having turned into reality something as singular as ecological and environmental urbanization, without sacrificing economic success.

What are your next challenges as Chairman?
To consolidate La Zagaleta’s position as a worldwide reference.

Some have defined La Zagaleta as a place where dreams have come true. To what extent is this true?
I cannot be objective about this. Having said that, I believe that it is a privilege to live here.

What does a man of your experience think of the change that Marbella has gone through over recent decades?
Without justifying them at all, I think that all of the changes have taken place for a reason. The “Gil Era” came about as a result of the constant deterioration of successive municipal administrations, and everyone knows perfectly well what came next.

What decisions should be made in order to keep Marbella within the international jet set circle?
Rather than decisions, there is a need to change the ethic of former years. There is a new town council and a mayor who presented a very interesting programme in the last local elections, and I am sure that they will attempt to carry it out. That would be the starting point.

Have you always known what you wanted to achieve in business?
Yes, although things did not always turn out as I wished. I’ve always attempted to design and plan things well and that is a good starting point. But you must always take into account certain imponderables, and it is important to know how to deal with them when they crop up.

Does business have anything to do with passion?Business of any kind always involves a challenge, more so when it comes to innovative projects. In the latter case, the excitement, the challenge, can lead to a certain amount of passion.


Is talent as important as education or perhaps more so?
No, for me the main thing is education, which is the product of a family environment, of teachers, friends; in other words, it is acquired. Talent, on the other hand is a God-given privilege. If both things come together, then all the better.

Should we always draw conclusions on the basis of results?
Yes, of course. That’s the distinguishing feature of an intelligent person. Only a fool is obstinate.

What is the secret of the success of Mr. Enrique Pérez Flores?
Study all projects in depth. Leave nothing to improvisation, although a little luck always comes in handy.

Would you say that happiness lies more in expectation than in achievement?
In both.

What do you dream of, Mr. Pérez Flores?
I don’t sleep well and I don’t dream much. I dream more when I’m wide awake and when I think of all the projects that, at my age, I’ll never be able to see become reality, although my sons will take up where I leave off.

One of your favourite books?
Reading is one of my passions. My friends know it and they are always giving me a wide range of books. At the moment, I’m on the final pages of “Una Europa Cristiana” (A Christian Europe), an essay by a Jewish-American writer who reflects on the failed European Constitution. At the same time I’m reading “El Mozárabe” [Translator’s note: The term mozarabe refers to Christians who kept their religion despite living in Muslim-occupied parts of the Iberian Peninsula], a story set in the Caliphate of Córdoba in the 10th century, a period of Spain’s history in which I am very interested.

A favourite film?
“The Great Dictator,” by that genius Charlie Chaplin.

What does the word “luxury” mean for you?
I dislike it because it implies a degree of ostentation. 

Where do you love to travel?
I travelled a lot when I was a banker, but now I prefer a quieter life. Each month I have to travel between Switzerland, where I live, and Málaga, and that seems enough for me, although the short trips to the Ronda hillside, which are on the doorstep of La Zagaleta, also seem to be enough for me.

Is there any particular well-known quote that you like to use?
The Spanish language is so rich that nowadays we use in everyday speech many expressions from the literary Golden Age. If I had to single out one particular phrase with a philosophical content of pure Christian morality, I would choose “the ends does not justify the means”.

What does your house in La Zagaleta mean for you?
It should really be my home, a place to rest. Yet often, and on more occasions than I’d have thought, it’s a point of convergence for some of La Zagaleta’s day-to-day problems. Some of the permanent residents, or others who live here only part of the year, don’t seem to know the difference between my home and my office and office hours. But the wonderful setting and the exceptional climate we enjoy here more than make up for it.


Property of Enrique Perez Flores

What is the music that is most heard in your house?
I have little time to listen to music but if I had to pick out one particular figure from classical music, it would be Johan Sebastian Bach. A true genius!

Is culture a privilege?
Unfortunately it is, because culture is a very long process that begins with a good education. Sadly, we are witnessing a deterioration of education that begins in the home and at school.

As someone who is familiar with the world of finance, what three points of good advice would you give?
I wouldn’t give good advice, though I would like to answer your question by making several suggestions.

Firstly, exercise caution, although all projects should rest upon a solid financial base, such as own funds, guaranteed promises of credit, and so on.

Secondly, an in-depth study, along with the best advice, because if something starts out badly it will always turn out badly, while a project that is designed well has far less chances of failing.

Thirdly, it is essential to have good people around you, people who are good not only in the professional sense but also from the point of view of their human qualities. And then,...a bit of luck, improvisation, speed of reaction towards adversity.

What do you think is the most important discovery of the 20th century?
It has to be penicillin, which has saved so many lives, and all the antibiotics that followed afterwards.

What do you most value in a person?
Education and honesty. Neither of these virtues has anything to do with genes and are there for all to obtain.

What gives you the greatest feeling of pride?
My family, which is quite a large one, as you know.

How would you define art?
It is the most sublime expression of thought, the materialization of a feeling that takes form in ideas and real objects and events for the satisfaction of our senses.

What paintings do you own? Which ones would you like to own?
I have never been a collector of famous paintings although I do have one that I picked up in an auction mainly for decorative reasons. That does not mean that I dislike paintings, and I would define myself as a lover of classical works. That’s why my favourite painter is Velazquez, and if there is one of his paintings that I would love to own, it is without a doubt the portrait of Pope Innocence X, which hangs in Rome’s Doria Gallery.



How do you think Marbella will be 10 years from now?
I’m optimistic because its excellent climate could only be spoilt by accelerated climate change, and we’re talking about 10 years. As for the political ups and downs, there should be greater stability following the last elections, thanks to a stable council, with a clear majority, made up of competent councillors, and thanks to an equally efficient and coherent opposition.

“La Zagaleta” is a brand linked to prestige and exclusivity. What does mean nowadays to develop the value of a brand like “La Zagaleta”?
Today “La Zagaleta” stands as one of the most prestigious and valuable brands in Costa del Sol real estate. So much so that it is a reference for an important number of subcontractors, such as construction firms, architects, suppliers, etcetera who have worked with us. The brand was first registered in the Spanish Trademark and Patents Office in 1994 and after years of being developed and perfected it is now to be found as a registered trademark in the trademark and patents offices of the world’s leading countries, including the USA. The company that owns it, the real estate developer “La Zagaleta” S.L.U., of which I am the Chairman, uses its marketing and communications departments to keep a close and meticulous eye on everything related to our brand and on the various related projects that are currently under way.

What question do you ask yourself and what is the answer that you come up with?
Sooner or later life comes to an end but the world keeps on turning. You have to keep on fighting until your strength gives out.


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