¿How did the idea come about?
The first steps
Josep Maria Romances, Founder (2010-2012) current Chairman of the Advisory Board
The founding idea of ACG Barcelona was born in May 2010 at the Lacroix restaurant in Philadelphia. The initiative came from Patrick Hurley, then world president of ACG and my partner there, to whom I mentioned the sale of Closa to EBN, for that month of July. Patrick recommended that I open an ACG chapter in Spain to continue to be linked to what my life had been.
Encouraged by the experience of my partner Maarten Wolleswinkel in the Netherlands, I designed a first Business Plan, which I shared with my friends Jordi Moral (Europastry) and Sergio Sánchez Solé (Garrigues). Later, I proposed the idea to Santiago Simón (ESADE) and Miguel Ángel Luna (Banco Popular) and we started with this foundational core.
The virtuous circle
After long dinners with Sergi and Jordi ending in Nuba, we built the virtuous circle. Then, we thought about who we must visit to become a member, either because of friendship, being a target such as Eduardo Conde, who would end up attracting many members, or Pere Guardiola, who achieved the coolest restaurant at incredible prices.
Despite the economic crisis, we wanted a certain quality of membership and set a share. We decided to charge participants from the second event. I still remember that the first speaker we invited was Germà Bel and we finished at two in the morning. This is where the obsession with meeting schedules comes from, which continues to this day. Likewise, we considered a lot on where to do them, their structure, themes, costs and prices, always seeking excellence.
Sponsorship and EU vision
We went looking for friendly sponsors using imaginative formulas, and we set ourselves the goal of Europeanizing the concept of the association. Torben Lutz from JV International was the sponsor that allowed us to attract Ana Coll and make the definitive organizational and qualitative leap.
Thanks to the foundation of ACG Barcelona, I obtained the Golden Medal which, according to the then CEO of ACG Gary LaBranche, only 50 members in the world can have it. These first steps, however, would not have been possible without unexpected details that encouraged the complicity that was being created from day one. From Carmen Mur’s summer meal, for example, to Javier Faus’s sincerity at dinner.
Each president, as well as the fellow members of the board, have been contributing a great and differential value to the association, as reflected in this book. Together we have achieved the foundational objectives of networking, staying up to date, sharing best practices and generating opportunities. We are the best ACG chapter outside of the United States. I finally bought back the company and thank you all. Thanks a lot.
Entry written by Josep María Romances in the ACG 10 years book.