Alberto Uribe-Echevarría – The Accountant Who Established Athletic Club’s Financial Stability
Alberto Uribe-Echevarría could become next President of Athletic Club. The former Accountant who served for seven and a half years under Josu Urrutia officially announced his candidacy on Thursday evening and will run against Aitor Elizegi who announced his candidacy on Friday afternoon. All candidates will be officially presented on 12 December and voting will take place on 27 December.
Ever since the Board of Directors resigned on 15 November the plan has always been to put forward a continuist candidate. Secretary Javier Aldazabal was approached first, but declined. Genar Andrinua also rejected the offer and Vice President José Ángel Corres initial accepted before withdrawing. The focus then shifted to Uribe-Echevarría who had always seemed like the perfect option.
The 59-year-old’s rise to prominence started at an early age. He was born in Bilbao in 1959 and became an Athletic Socio at 1967. He’s kept a close group of friends from his youth which includes Paco Herrera, the father of Ander Herrera. After receiving high marks at the Jesuit School of Indautxu he attended La Comercial which is now the Deusto School of Business. Uribe-Echevarría was an immediate success in the professional world where he became the Director of Deloitte, a Basque auditing company, where he was one of the top people in his profession until retiring two years ago.
When Josu Urrutia approached him to join his Board of Directors during the elections of 2011 some thought that Uribe-Echevarría was overqualified and should consider running for President himself. However, he willingly accepted the offer and quickly became Urrutia’s right-hand man always working behind the scenes as the club’s accountant. The goal of Urrutia’s Presidency was to protect Athletic’s image and make the club stronger in every aspect. Due to Uribe-Echevarría’s immense success in his role over the last seven and a half years, Athletic is currently in the most stable and secure financial situation in the history of the club.
Athletic’s current net worth is higher than it has ever been at €307 million. The latest financial update which took place on 30 June, 2018 revealed a positive net equity of €138 million which has been increased even further with the separate €76 million Provision Fund that was created back in October. In addition, the club is on track to end the 2018/2019 season with a budgeted surplus of €60.2 million. Considering the fact that the club is not in debt, these financial numbers are extraordinary.
Uribe-Echevarría has been nearly invisible since 2011, making public appearances only to update the Socios on the financial situations every year. He’s liked working behind the scenes, but now the spotlight will be on him. So far he has yet to divulge any of his plans as President although it is likely that he will have some similar ideas to Urrutia. The two have been very close while working together but there are some differences.
Working with numbers and data for so many decades has made Uribe-Echevarría very pragmatic and analytical. Those who know him well praise his dedication to his work as well as his brilliant mind. The 59-year-old is expected to surround himself with those who understand other areas on a much deeper level. He even stated in his announcement that his Board will be occupied by some that served alongside him under Urrutia, as well as others from outside.
Former Secretary Javier Aldazabal and Genar Andrinua both stepped down from the Management Committee, along with three others, one hour before Uribe-Echevarría officially announced his candidacy. Both are expected to join his Board of Directors, with sources saying that Andrinua will serve as his Sports Consultant. With Uribe-Echevarría having never played football professionally, it certainly seems wise to surround himself with a former Athletic player who is highly respected in the community.
Uribe-Echevarría stated that he will announce his group in the coming days as well as share his ideas for the future. The former Board of Directors finally have their continuist candidate and the elections will proceed after weeks of uncertainty. All candidates will be officially presented to the public on 12 December and voting will take place on 27 December. Athletic will have a new President before the end of the year.