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Germán Carlos Suárez believes that to be a good CEO you have to be humble and be surrounded by people who are better than yourself. 

“We are all very proud that you are our boss”. This is a sentence given by a sales manager to Germán Carlos Suárez, Chairman and CEO of Astilleros Canarios (ASTICAN), Astilleros de Santander (ASTANDER) and Astilleros Puerto de Balboa en el Canal de Panamá (ASTIBAL).


And when the workers feel this and the results go along with it, it means that things are being done well. “My father always said that the really good professionals who help companies grow are those who take responsibility and want to have their own decision-making sphere. And when you meet people like that, you have to give them total trust and delegate to them, because otherwise they will leave and you will be left with those who don’t want to take responsibility. And at that moment you will be alone and lost, a CEO can’t do everything. It would be a mistake to think like that,” Suárez recalls. “My predecessors taught me that everything works out, better or worse, but it works out. And if there is a mistake or something goes wrong, at that moment the CEO is the one who must take full responsibility for its people, who just do their best work”.

The Group is dedicated to ship repair with the shipyard being on a busy maritime route or port, and to the very complex conversion of ships. “They are a niche market in which our shipyards are perfectly competitive against large Asian naval factories which today control more than 90% of the ship constructions that are built in the world”, shares the CEO.


The philosophy of being humble. 

This humbleness with which he faces his management, together with the great responsibility for everything that is done in the Group, is the reason why Germán Carlos Suárez has received the award as CEO of the Year in the Naval Sector. “It is a huge honour! And I am aware that I am nothing if it were not for all the people who work with us every day to move the company forward. I am just the one who receives this award on behalf of many people who were or are working with us. And for our shipyards, it represents the satisfaction of having fulfilled our duty to make our factories progress and contribute to keep the Spanish naval industry high since we decided to enter in this world of in 1989”.

And with his eyes still focused on what has brought him here, he is thinking of the future and to continue being a reference in naval repairs and transformations of any type of ship. Also, they want their shipyard have an important role in the technical improvements or transformations that the ships will need for environmental reasons from 2023; to recover the good reputation that the shipyard in the Panama Canal had in the past; to expand its international presence; and “we will also play an important role in the development and installation of the Floating Offshore Wind Energy in Spain. We will then continue with the same development of Fixed and Floating Offshore Wind in other areas of the world, such as the USA and Latin America,”


Self-portrait of the shipyards.

Our shipyard is part of an internationally integrated Shipping Group with Greek and Spanish capital, with more than 40 years of existence. At the beginning, there were three owners of the company and my father was one of them. Within the Group, the owners divided the management responsibilities of the different business areas according to the type of activity . And in the case of the shipyards, my father was the Chairman.








* Last Wednesday, 13th July, LA RAZÓN organised the I CEO of the Year Awards, a recognition of the CEOs of thirty companies in our country. This article was published yesterday, 19th July, in the special CEO of the year awards in the daily newspaper La Razón.


El CEo y sus compañeros

From left to right: Manuel Morales, director of Astican; José Carlos Álvarez, general director of the Group; Germán Carlos Suárez, Chairman of the Group and Juan Luis Sánchez, director of Astander and Chairman of the Maritime Cluster of Cantabria.