IT WAS THE fairy tale story that didn’t actually happen. Despite reports by news outlets, a former CEO of Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo did not leave millions of pounds in his will to the residents of his home village in Spain. It was reported in November that Antonino Fernández Rodriguez (who died in August) left $214.65 million to the 😯 residents of the small village of Cerezales del Condado where he grew up, making each villager a millionaire with $2.68 million each. Unfortunately, it appears the original report misconstrued a quote from a resident concerning the generosity of Fernández. However, he did leave a huge amount of money with his hometown, and has paid for everything from cultural institutions to churches. Rather than it going to people in the village, Fernandez, who had no children of his own, left a part of his fortune to the descendants of his 12 siblings.
Fernández was born in 1917 and grew up in the village in extremely poor circumstances. He left school at 14 to work in the fields but in 1949 he and his wife left for Mexico when his wife’s uncle, Pablo Diez Fernandez, suggested he come and work for Grupo Modelo – a company he had helped found in 1922. Working his way up through the ranks, Fernández became CEO of the brewery in 1971 until 1997 and remained chairman of the board until 2OO5 when he handed over control to his nephew. During his tenure at the company he drove the international success of Corona, built and acquired new breweries for the company, including the Zacatecas brewery which is today the largest in Latin America, and in his lifetime he was recognized in both Spain and Mexico for his charitable endeavors to find employment for disabled people.