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WORDS | Geoff Hadwick Leading by example

Diogo Gaspar Ferreira has one of the biggest jobs in the Portuguese residential tourism sector as the chief executive offi cer of the country’s high-profi le Vale do Lobo resort. It is famous for its luxury accommodation and its high build and fi nish standards. It is even famous for being famous: a place where the stars like to stay. What does he think Portugal needs to do to get its overseas property sector back on track? Top people talk to OPP.

Ferreira began to realise “how much Portugal was underdeveloped, and how many things we could do and achieve, if the country could only get itself properly and professionally organised.” His student days took him to the UK and the USA and Ferreira quickly understood how important it is to get away from home, in order to put things into perspective. Everyone involved in the overseas property business “should travel abroad and fi nd ways to learn from their international experiences,” he says. “That’s the way I did it. And I


t was while he was growing up and studying business in his home town of Lisbon that Diogo Gaspar

learned a lot.” He defi nitely likes the hands on approach. Go and see it, and do it, if you want to improve yourself, he says. “I have been involved in so many different industries, often with companies in a leading position. These experiences enriched me and helped me understand each new business that I went into.”

How many were there? What did this bright young business studies graduate do – and was property there right from the beginning. No, says Ferreira. “Until I was

27, I worked on all sorts of different projects. I did two years on the stock

market, two years in the restaurant trade, seven years with a TV company and four years in football. And now I have 12 years of experience in the property world.” How did he cope moving between

such disparate sectors? “My optimism always helps me through,” he answers. “It helps me to create new things, and my business studies degree helps me fi ne tune the ideas, and make them work.” Sports-mad and a keen reader, Ferreira fi rst got into the international property industry by taking a job as a “general manager at Vila Sol, a golf and beach resort on the Algarve. I

then went to MDC, one of the leading developers in Europe, and began to work on projects in more than 20 different countries. I worked hard and got to understand what makes property funds work and how to develop offi ce schemes, retail / shopping mall projects, and so on.”

“I then came back to the

residential market in the Algarve, to work at Vale do Lobo (VDL), which I truly believe is one of the best developments in Portugal.” “I would undoubtedly say that

VDL is the best-established and best- organised resort concept in Europe. We have carefully thought through all of

Vale Do Lobo

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