Farewell to a founding father

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.


There are only a few individuals during the 60-year history of duty free who can truly be considered as having shaped the industry. Alberto C Motta Snr, who died this week at the age of 90, was one of them. In 1949 he opened the first airport duty free store in his region, in Panama City and he fought tooth and nail down the years to legitimise and nurture the whole concept of duty free. He leaves behind an immense legacy – one embracing family, company, industry and country.

In each of those areas he was, as Michael Payne of the IAADFS so rightly put it, loved and respected. What a great and kindly man – appropriately honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to the industry by Raven Fox in 2005 (we show him there, pictured with InterBaires CEO Enrique Urioste, just one of many younger executives to have been influenced by Mr Motta). He will be missed and remembered.

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  • Dear Don Alberto
    You are gone but deeply in the heart of all that have known you it is a light that has been turned off. I have had great laughs with you and I am aleready missing your laugh and great jokes. Your sons are going to follow your steps, and always be a Mensch as you have shown them all.
    I send you a strong hugh, you will defintly be on the right of our Gd. in the garden of Eden
    Shalom dear Alberto

  • His leadership and love will be remembered forever. His ever smiling face and amusing stories were legendary.
    He walked and related with Presidents and the common man.
    We all admired his pioneering business spirit and can-do attitude.
    I personally wish his family my deepest condolences and hope that they be ever comforted by his shining legacy.