Rafael assumed the role of executive chairman in October 2017, having been non-executive chairman since April 2014. Prior to that he held the role of CEO since 2003. He joined ED&F Man in 1979 and held positions in Paris, Latin America and London.
From 1992 to 1997 Rafael, a dual Spanish/British citizen, spent a period working in Spain as managing director of Tabacalera and executive chairman of CDF. During this time he also served as non-executive director on the boards of Phillip Morris, British American Tobacco and Ebro Puleva.