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Ainhoa Zabala

CEO / Executive Committee

Pamplona Office
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Ainhoa Zabala Versteeg is the General Manager of Zabala Innovation. She started working in the company in 2000, when there were 20 employees in the Pamplona office.

After joining the company, she worked in the administrative and accounting area, then worked as a technical consultant in the agri-food area and finally took on responsibility for the People and Talent area. After working in all professional areas at Zabala Innovation, two decades later, her responsibility has grown thanks to her work in decision-making in the different strategic plans of the company, thanks to her talent management related to business management, and in 2018 she became CEO of the company.

Together with her brother Erik, both CEOs, Ainhoa Zabala leads this family business from Navarre that has been promoting innovation as a key factor in the competitiveness of companies and organisations for more than 35 years and in this task has achieved the rank of leading company in innovation management.

Ainhoa is a Technical Agricultural Engineer (1996-1999, Public University of Navarra) and holds an MBA in Business Management (2005). She speaks four languages (English, Spanish, Basque and Dutch), which facilitates her work in international relations. In 2015, she completed the OW Executive Programme in Leadership and People Management, a specific programme for team and people leadership.

As CEO, among other tasks, she is responsible for coordinating the corporate areas of the company, which are Talent and People, Digitalisation and Communication and Marketing. She also directs the work of the company’s transversal departments such as Finance, Administration and Accounting.

She has been selected “for her track record, strategic vision, capacity for innovation and transformational leadership” as the winner of the Ebro Territorial Management of the CaixaBank 2021 Businesswoman Awards, which recognise the talent and professional excellence of businesswomen in Spain and promote networking among leading businesswomen in the world. Ainhoa belongs to different networks that bring together women entrepreneurs at a national and international level, such as IWEC, International Women’s Forum, Vital Voices and EJE&CON.

She has participated in different forums and meetings to highlight the work of professional women, such as CocaCola’s GIRA MUJERES cycle or MUJERES EN CAMINO, a project created and developed by the Koine-Aequalitas Foundation in Navarra, whose objective is to promote the progress and promotion of women in Navarra’s society and to make visible the problems that exist in the professional advancement of women.