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Corona CEO did not leave millions to home village

Correction: Despite reports by major 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 this week, including here at the drinks business, that Antonino Fernández Rodriguez (pictured) left £169 million to the 80 residents of the small village of Cerezales del Condado where he was born and grew up, making each villager a millionaire with £2m each.

Unfortunately, it appears the original report in the Telegraph misconstrued a quote from a resident concerning the generosity of Fernández towards his hometown which certainly was substantial.

Fernández was born in 1917, one of 13 children, 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 he remained chairman of the board until 2005 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 recognised in both Spain and Mexico for his charitable schemes to find employment for disabled people.

Despite the course of his life and career,  Fernández had always maintained ties with his hometown. In 2008 for example he set up a foundation, Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, to support the local population.

He died on 31 August this year, his wife, Cinia González Díez, who he was married to for close to 60 years, having pre-deceased him.

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