Remembering an industry titan: Eugenio Andrades

By Luke Barras-hill |

Hugely admired and respected, Eugenio Andrades leaves an indelible mark in the memories of those fortunate enough to have known him.

It is with great sadness that TRBusiness reports the death of the extremely well-respected and much-liked Dufry senior executive Eugenio Andrades.

The Spanish industry veteran and Dufry CEO Operations is understood to have passed away in recent days following a battle with his health.

Over the course of a more than 26-year career in the DF&TR industry, Andrades occupied multiple leadership positions and had a profound impact on the shape of Dufry’s organisation today.

Having joined Aldeasa in the 1990s [later integrated with Alpha and World Duty Free], Andrades rose through the ranks to become Chief Commercial Officer and then, in 2014, CEO of World Duty Free (WDF) following its de-merger from Autogrill.

When Dufry bought out WDF from Benetton-owned Edizione and Schema34, Andrades continued his senior management career, becoming CEO Operations in 2020 (see full career timeline below).

An intergalactic presence: Eugenio Andrades’ warmth, kindness, wisdom, guidance and indomitable spirit will live long in the memories of those who knew him best. Pictured here in 2016 at the launch of the World Duty Free, Disney and Gatwick Airport activation for ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’.

It emerged that Andrades would step away from the business due to personal reasons at the time Dufry’s new Global Executive Committee was announced in January 2023 as it formalised its business combination with Autogrill S.p.A.

At the time, the travel retail giant said Andrades was expected to “play a leading role in the success of the group” upon his return.

Andrades held a degree in Mining Engineering from the Politécnica University of Madrid and a Masters of Economics and Strategy from the Colorado School of Mines.

Dufry issues statement

In a statement, Dufry paid tribute to a “highly esteemed and hugely admired colleague, brilliant strategist and great leader of people who has dedicated so much of his professional life to Dufry, its operations and its people all around the world.”

The statement said he served with distinction over 26 years in each of his roles within the companies, which eventually came together as Dufry.

A leader of people: warmth, compassion, humility matched with extraordinary business talent: A rare and revered blend of qualities possessed by few in the industry.

Xavier Rossinyol, Chief Executive Officer of Dufry, said: “Eugenio’s contribution to making Dufry what it is today was truly outstanding. His business acumen, keen analytical approach and operational experience, combined with his genuine interest in people, earned him deep respect both within Dufry and across the duty and tax free industry.

“He will be very much missed. We will continue to honour his name and, above all, his values with a deep sense of pride and responsibility.”

Tributes from the DF&TR community have poured in via LinkedIn after a heartfelt post highlighted simply with a heart icon and image of the pair was shared by Pedro Castro, Chief Operating Officer Asia Pacific, Dufry.

“We will always remember your voice, Eugenio. Thank you for all your friendship, wisdom and support,” said Jordi Martin-Consuegra, CEO, Hudson. Quoting Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, Martin-Consuegra added: “Bird intent on its flight. Air tattooed by an absence.”

Freda Cheung, President and CEO Asia Pacific, Dufry, commented: “An incredibly sad day for those of us who have had the privilege to know Eugenio. A highly respected professional and a genuine, humble, and people-focused leader who will be greatly missed. RIP.”

Former APTRA President and DFS Group VP Global Business Development and Paccaya Resources Founder Andrew Ford said: “Oh no, this is terrible. Such an inspiring, simple and honest person. RIP.”

A linkedIn member by the name of Firdousi Ahmed, a former Executive Assistant at Dufry according to her profile, offered these words: “This is extremely sad news. I learnt so much from him. It was an honour and a privilege to have worked with and supported him. RIP. sending my sincere condolences and prayers to Paula and his family.”

Former Aldeasa and WDF executive Olga Brown added: “We will not forget so many good moments with him, he was my boss and my mentor, he supported me, took care of me, taught me… and jokes, laughs, hard moments, a lot of affection… always affectionate. We will miss you Eugenio, a thousand kisses wherever you are. Much encouragement and a big hug to all his family…”

A distinguished career

Dufry says it will establish and name after Eugenio Andrades a programme to assist disadvantaged young people to develop life skills and a career as a way to honour and recognise Andrades’ focus on developing people.

A book of memorial and condolences will be opened at Dufry’s Madrid office. Those who wish to contribute are invited to send these to [email protected]

TRBusiness extends its deepest sympathies to Eugenio’s family and friends at this difficult time.

Andrades speaking to TRBusiness in an interview during TFWA Cannes in 2021.

1996: Began his career as Director of Stategy and Development at Aldeasa.

2001: Moved to Jordan to assume the position of CEO Jordan and Middle East, Aldeasa.

2002-2007: Held several senior roles with Aldeasa after returning to Spain including Director of Strategy & Development and Investor Relations.

2007-2010: Served as Commercial Director and Operations Coordinator, Aldeasa, playing a key role in the integration of operational and commercial practices following the merger of Aldeasa, Alpha and World Duty Free after the entities were acquired by Autogrill in 2008.

2011-2014: Chief Commercial Officer, Aldeasa/WDF.

2014: Appointed CEO, World Duty Free Group and moved to the UK in early 2015, where was based at the Bedfont Lakes offices.

2016: Following Dufry’s takeover of WDF in 2015, Andrades was appointed Chief Executive Officer of UK, Central and Eastern Europe Division.

2018: Returned to Spain to take up key post of CEO of Operations and Strategy, Dufry.

2019: Became CEO Europe, Africa and Strategy, Dufry.

2020-2023: Served as CEO Operations, Dufry.

Editor’s comment: Like many in our industry, I was shocked and deeply saddened by news of the passing of Eugenio Andrades this week.

I had the pleasure of knowing Eugenio for many years, after first meeting in 2013 around the time of World Duty Free’s de-merger from Autogrill (and several years before the Dufry buyout of WDF). Then, he was CCO.

We had stayed in touch ever since. A consummate, gracious professional and a remarkably shrewd and effective business operator, Eugenio possessed those rare qualities of being supremely well-liked and respected in equal measure.

More importantly, he was a warm, compassionate and caring human with a sharp intellect and a steely determination underpinned by a quiet and unassuming disposition. Despite his many business responsibilities, he would always make time to speak with me.

During our many on-record interviews, I was struck by and deeply appreciative of his candour, which owed much to a sense of trust that was earned, not given. That openness and mutual understanding were rare virtues enjoyed between members of the press and high ranking officials at publicly listed companies. I never took that for granted. I was also incredibly fortunate, given the often guarded, nondescript corporate interviews dished out to the press today from big (and small) companies in our trade.

Through the many years of retail consolidation and the personnel changes or departures so often part of it, Eugenio remained a major tour de force in travel retail and the industry was supremely better off for it.

I will sorely miss him and extend my heartfelt sympathies to his family and colleagues. Rest in peace my friend.

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