Navigating a change in sector: the perspective of a CFO in Infrastructure


As the Infrastructure industry continues to evolve, businesses must think laterally about talent acquisition and the potential to acquire complimentary capabilities from adjacent sectors. The undeniable boom of Digital Infrastructure as an asset class has led to an inevitable talent gap at the board level. The role of the Chief Financial Officer is often seen as sector agnostic and is the most changed position on the C-suite. It is therefore positioned to benefit the most from a creative approach to Executive Search. For this reason, we sat down with Maria Clemente, a seasoned Infrastructure CFO whose professional journey highlights what new opportunities can be presented when an individual considers a change in sector.

Having spent close to 15 years in aviation with Ferrovial, in January 2023 Maria took the plunge to join Bluevia, a newly launched Fibre JV between Vauban Infrastructure Partners, Telefonica and Predica. Having supported Maria with this move, we sat down with her a year later to ask her to share her experiences and insights, highlighting the challenges and opportunities of venturing into a new sector. Her story not only highlights the adaptability of the best professionals in the market but also illustrates the mutual benefits that both individuals and businesses can access when challenging industry norms.

Answers have been edited for brevity.

What motivated you to make this move?

When Tim [Walton, Principal, Portfolio Leadership at One Search] approached me about Bluevia, I was already starting to think about other opportunities. While I was happy at Ferrovial, I didn’t want to spend my entire career in the same sector. Additionally, the impact of the pandemic on the airport industry encouraged me to consider a change and the timing felt right.

Bluevia was a great match as there were several similarities to the project I had worked on for Ferrovial in the US. I also started to see fibre projects appear more in the market, with large companies and funds starting to invest.

It was definitely an attractive market and something I wanted to be a part of.

What key transferable skills did you bring to your new role?

Most of my colleagues at Bluevia have been in telecommunications for the majority of their careers. For this reason, they were extremely familiar with the sector. However, when it comes to funding, many of the same players operate in both telco and airports, making the financing process very similar. This allowed me to draw upon my years of experience working with those same players, as I had already gone through many of the required processes and understood the general shareholder agreement framework.

A key element of my mandate has been to work alongside Bluevia’s key stakeholders to leverage the initial investment we received from Vauban and Predica. I have had to find the best ways to utilise fresh capital many times in my career before and hence could seamlessly transfer my experience to an unfamiliar environment.

I wanted a challenge, and never doubted that the move wouldn’t be feasible. I saw the parallels between my experience and what the role required from the start. In the end, I was very comfortable with the move.

What steps have you taken to familiarize yourself with the new sector?

The initial support from the Bluevia team was fundamental and still is today. I began by working closely with my peers, particularly the Operations Director. I regularly visited the central offices where I was trained on “all things fibre”, how it works and the market in Spain.

The team had just gone through the process of getting a new shareholder, so there were a lot of useful materials on the business and the industry, which I was able to learn from. I also made the effort to attend several site visits. This allowed me to be hands-on and really begin to deepen my understanding of the sector and our role within it.

If you’re proactive about learning, eager to work side-by-side with the team and utilise all the available resources, you are able to quickly adapt to a new sector. There are more parallels than what you might expect – at the end of the day you’re still dealing with a similar asset class and stakeholders with similar expectations and communication style.

Can you share specific experiences from your journey so far?

My past experience was particularly useful when it came to working with the Private Equity shareholders to establish a robust reporting system on which to build the company. This involved tailoring financial reporting to meet the unique needs of all stakeholders, recognising and appreciating the distinct requirements of our Private Equity shareholders compared to Telefonica. Additionally, monthly reporting for board meetings has become a critical aspect of my role, something which I am well used to from my time with Ferrovial.

Any advice or challenges you’d like to highlight?

My advice would be to just do it – you will succeed if you take the appropriate steps to get up to speed at pace. You will then be part of a journey where you can apply your previous experience to help build and grow a new business. As with any new role there will be challenges but it is likely that you know a lot more about the mechanics of the industry than you think you do. With the right team, resources and attitude it is immensely rewarding.


Maria Clemente
Chief Financial Officer, Bluevía

Maria Clemente is a seasoned finance professional with a wealth of expertise spanning over a decade in Infrastructure across multiple countries, including the UK, Spain, and the USA.

Maria currently holds the position of Chief Financial Officer at Bluevía, a cutting-edge network operator founded through a joint venture between Vauban Infrastructure Partners, Telefonica, and Predica.

With a background in Business Administration, Maria began her career working in the aviation sector dedicating 15 years to Spanish owner, operator, Ferrovial.

Her appetite for growth and track record of successful performance has provided her with valuable leadership opportunities much earlier than her peers.

Go to Bluevía
Maria Clemente’s LinkedIn


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