Mirco Iwan, 43, is married to a Peruvian he met in Barcelona. They just had their first daughter. He was born near Dusseldorf, but in the last 20 years he has lived in Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Milan and Dubai, among other cities, and, for eight years in Barcelona. He works in corporate restructuring for investment funds. In this context, he has been CEO and advisor in companies in different industries such as Eismann and Seven Seas here in Spain, but also in other companies in Italy, Morocco, Dubai, Switzerland and Germany.
Why did you choose Barcelona? I fell in love with Barcelona during my MBA at Esade in 2010. When I finished the MBA there weren’t many opportunities to stay in Barcelona, but in 2013 I was made an offer to return as CEO of Eismann, a German frozen food company. From there, I stayed in the city, although for the last few years I have had to travel abroad from Monday to Friday. For my profession, Barcelona is perfectly located in the center of Europe with a good transport infrastructure.
What aspects of the city would you highlight as positive? Apart from the infrastructure and connections to work at a European level, the climate is clearly the number one argument for living in Barcelona. We also really enjoy the multitude of events, culture and sports that the city and its surroundings offer. You can never participate in everything, you have to suffer to choose. It seems to me that the city is improving its level of cleanliness and cultural appeal year after year. Finally, Barcelona is perfect for maintaining international relationships because everyone tries to visit the city from time to time.
What aspects of the city need to be improved? How? As in all cities in the world, there are issues to improve. In Barcelona, the traffic during the “rush hour” [hora punta] for example, it can be very strenuous. Also, it seems that thefts have increased again in recent years and there are no laws or resources to prevent them. Although the administration and bureaucracy are already much more digital, it still takes a lot of time and patience to communicate with the different departments of the public administration.
¿What are the strengths of the city to overcome the crisis generated by covid-19? The covid has given me the opportunity to travel less and enjoy life at home much more. By spending more time outdoors you feel much more protected from infection. I also have the feeling that after a very restrictive start, life has returned to normal faster than in other European capitals.
What challenges does the city face once the health emergency has subsided? It is noted that many medium and small businesses have suffered during this time and that many places in the city are now abandoned. It is a great loss, because one of the main attractions of Barcelona are the small businesses with a long tradition that until now have been able to cope with the large international chains.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years? From a new parent’s point of view, I hope the Government will allocate more resources to security, bureaucracy, and invest in new industries and technologies. At the regional and national level, I hope that one day a more sustainable and transparent political situation will be established with a greater will to solve the problems of this century constructively.
What do you feel is your city? What do you miss the most? Barcelona is definitely the home chosen by my family. We have many friends here, we have invested in real estate and we think it is a good place to educate our daughter. The only thing I miss about Germany, really, is the bread. There is enormous potential for improvement here, but the myriad benefits we enjoy more than make up for us twice.