BOG 2017: Hugo Ramniceanu Prize in Economics Awarded
The 2017 Hugo Ramniceanu Prize in Economics was awarded to Etti and Gabi Rotter, whose popular clothing chain Castro changed the face of the Israeli fashion retail market. The Prize, which honors the late Hugo Ramniceanu, a longtime President of the French Friends Association, is awarded annually to distinguished personalities in the Israeli business world.
Mr. Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank and former Governor of the Bank of France, gave introductory remarks on his friend, Hugo Ramniceanu. He was followed by Chairman of the Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, who said, “Hugo believed in the State of Israel with all his heart. His goal in establishing this prize was to identify and reward role models in Israel for outstanding business, industry and community achievement.” Prof. Frenkel noted that Etty and Gaby Rotter “fit this description perfectly. They have applied creative, out-of-the-box thinking to expand their company both nationally and internationally, while also preserving a deep sense of responsibility toward the community,” he said.
The Rotters, newly-appointed Governors of TAU, were recognized for their "exceptional impact on Israel’s economic and industrial development and for their 40 year’s leadership of Castro – from a wholesale company to a retail chain with branches throughout the country, sales of $ 450 million a year and 5,500 employees.” The Rotters doubled and donated their prize money toward scholarships for doctoral research at TAU.
Etti Rotter is the daughter of Aaron Castro, the founder of the company. A graduate of Tel Aviv University, in 1985 she oversaw the transformation of Castro from a wholesale company to a nationwide chain and in 1992 became Castro’s co-CEO together with her husband Gaby Rotter, Etti heads Castro Fashion Studio, the biggest fashion house in Israel, with more than 20 leading Israeli designers. She also serves as a member of the managing committee of Friends of Sheba Medical Center.
Gabi Rotter joined Castro in 1980 and during this time the company became the leading fashion brand in Israel with more than $200m in annual sales and over 2,000 employees. In 2000 Gaby headed the launch of Castro-Men which revolutionized the Israeli fashion market as the first man dedicated chain.
Prof. Klafter thanked Ramniceanu’s daughter, Dr. Monique Barel, and son, Gerald Ramniceanu, as well as the French Friends Association for helping “keep Hugo’s vision alive and for encouraging excellence in the economic sphere in Israel.”
In response, Dr. Barel said that Etty and Gaby Rotter represented the very example of the qualities her father sought for the recipients of the prize. “You work as a couple, you work in the field of textiles like he did; you began modestly and are now a listed company. I hope this prize will bring you luck and happiness.”
A scholarship was awarded to Maksim Frishberg, born in Kazakhstan, a student in economics and linguistics who completed his military service in the Israel Air force.