Javier Picola has been CEO of the gaming division of Grup Peralada since 2010. His professional background is extensive, having worked for a variety of companies in different industries and countries throughout his career. In the 90s, he was appointed managing director of the casino division of Cirsa, one of the largest gaming conglomerates in the world, a role which prepared him well for his current position within Grup Peralada.
"I was responsible for pushing the casino division forward from a very small local stance to a much larger international dimension," Javier says. "I was there for seven years between 1993 and 2000 and then I decided to move on. It was very strenuous having to travel back and forth to South America constantly."
"When I decided to look for new opportunities, something came up that was both interesting and totally different Indo, the leader in Spain's ophthalmic lens industry. You might ask what it might have in common with the gaming industry, and the answer is nothing; however, the business was looking for a far-reached international expansion and they saw the potential in me to develop a national company into a worldwide business. As I had achieved that quite successfully during my years at Cirsa, Indo decided to give me the opportunity to replicate that strategy."
Indo was already the leader in the Spanish market and Javier managed to expand its presence into the US, South America, and other countries in Europe. After seven years, he took a sabbatical to spend more time with his family before later joining Grup Peralada.
Grup Peralada is based in Barcelona and is owned by the well-known Suqué-Mateu family. It was founded in 1904 and has diversified operations in leisure, wine, and industry, besides greatly sponsoring arts and culture. The gaming division is its core business and Javier was asked to lead it following some informal conversations years before his appointment. I met them years ago because the casino industry in Spain is rather small, he explains. We had some friendly talks to see if in the future there would be room for collaboration and that possibility came up in late 2009.
Javier was attracted to the role for three reasons: he thoroughly enjoyed the gaming industry, he liked to work for family-owned companies, and the Suqué-Mateu family and by extension Grup Peralada had an impeccable reputation as the leading player in Spain's casino industry.