Montserrat Gil de Bernabé succeeds Jordi Maymó at the helm of Mercabarna

14th February 2008

After 21 years as General Director of Mercabarna, Jordi Maymó has left the company to devote his energies to the development and promotion of an innovative food industry project. Maymó’s place will be taken by Montserrat Gil, currently president of Promotora d’Exportacions Catalanes (Prodeca – Catalan export promotion organization) and member of the Mercabarna board, in mid March.

One of the most significant outcomes of Maymó’s period as Mercabarna chief was the development and promotion of the Auxiliary Activities Zone (ZAC) around the wholesale markets. The ZAC has been a key factor in Mercabarna’s advancement and is what makes this important food-distribution cluster different from all other markets in the world. In the ZAC, activities take place that offer added value for products and services for customers, facilitating the adaptation of traditional wholesale companies to new patterns of trade and consumption.

Now, Mercabarna is the largest concentration of food industry companies in southern Europe and a byword throughout the world. As well as the wholesale markets for fruit and vegetables, fish and flowers, at Mercabarna there are companies specializing in modern distribution chains, companies that supply restaurants, food import and export companies, and firms that have set up modern chains of fruit and vegetable shops, fishmongers, etc.

Controversial change in opening hours

In 1988, Maymó was also behind the controversial changeover of the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market from a night-time to a daytime timetable, contributing to the modernization of the sector through the improvement in quality of life for those working in it and the way in which it encouraged younger people to remain in the industry. The change also encouraged modern distribution and catering organizations to become buyers at the market, the first of its kind in the world to operate during the day and now one of the best-positioned at the international level.

Thanks to the constant modernization of the meat section and the slaughterhouse at Mercabarna, as well as of the Central Fish Market, always in pursuit of the highest standards of food safety and quality, these sectors have emerged stronger from the various upheavals that have affected the food industry.

Recycling of 112,000 kg of residues every day

Another notable achievement of Maymó’s time as General Director was the implementation of the environmental plan, with the creation of the necessary infrastructures and the communication policy to inculcate good environmental practice in the 25,000 people who pass through Mercabarna each day. As a result, some 80% of the 140,000 kg of the residues generated every day by this great market are recycled. In 2002, Mercabarna was the first wholesale market in the world to have a Green Point.

Furthermore, in 1997 Mercabarna was the first such centre in the world to have a fibre optic network throughout, allowing all the companies in this great market to access the most advanced telecommunications services.

Perhaps the most characteristic thing about Maymó’s management over the years has been the constant dialogue and cooperation with the companies located in Mercabarna over all aspects affecting the operation of this small city of food.

Montserrat Gil de Bernabé

Montserrat Gil de Bernabé has a lengthy professional experience in the food industry, notably as director of the Institut Municipal de Mercats i Consum in Lleida. Gil de Bernabé occupied this post for 11 years, from 1993 to 2004, providing her with first-hand knowledge of market operation.

A woman with links to the food industry

In 2004, she held the post of director of Territorial Services for Lleida of the Catalan government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Subsequently, she became Director General for Production, Innovation and the Food Industry in the same ministry.

The current minister, Joaquim Llena, appointed her Director General for Agriculture, Livestock and Food, a post she left to become president of Prodeca.

Gil de Bernabé has been linked with Mercabarna since 2006 as a member of the company’s board of directors.