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Life’s a beach and then you’re sacked

There has been an unseasonal tension on some of Spain's more exclusive beaches over the past month. August is usually a time for the great and the good of industry to leave the stresses of the cities behind them and unwind by the sea. But for the chairmen of some of the biggest companies, the holidays were spoiled by the knowledge that in the autumn they will be fighting for their jobs.

In Spain, boardroom change follows political change as regularly as the seasons. The ties between government and the corporate sector are no stronger than in other western economies, but they are different. In Spain, directors need the patronage of ministers, and not the other way around.

Spanish finance minister Pedro Solbes served notice on directors at the beginning of August. “I want to see managers who are honest, professional and defend the interests of their businesses,” he told Europa Press.

“The government is not pushing any one option,” he added. “But what we have been looking at, and in many cases have been surprised by what we have found, are the qualifications of some of the people who have been appointed to directorships.”

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