Born in Madrid, José María Álvarez-Pallete has a degree in economics from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. He also studied economics at the Free University of Brussels, and holds an international management program degree from IPADE (PanAmerican Institute for High Business Direction) and an advanced research degree from the Complutense University of Madrid.
Álvarez-Pallete joined Telefónica in February 1999 as CFO of Telefónica Internacional. In September of the same year, he became CFO of Telefónica, S.A., overseeing operations such as the Telefónica Group’s takeovers of its Latin American subsidiaries (the largest capital markets transaction ever launched in Latin America). He has since served as chairman and CEO of Telefónica Internacional, managing director of Telefónica Latin America, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Latin America, and chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe. He is the founder of Wayra, Telefónica's startup incubator. Since September 2012, he is COO of Telefónica S.A. He is also a marathon runner.