Andrónico Luksic Craig

  • Interviewed 3 September 2008 in Santiago, Chile, by Andrea Lluch, Research Fellow, HBS
  • Clip Duration – 1:51

Mr. Luksic addresses his business career, with a special focus on his performance in the banking sector. He reviews his father’s track record, investment diversification, funding policies, strategic alliances, and the internationalization process. In addition, he describes the most significant net worth growth periods for the Luksic group and its most difficult times; the keys to business success; and the main features that have defined him as a businessman.

Interview Excerpt

P: Una pregunta: si usted tuviera que proyectar y trazar los ciclos más importantes del crecimiento del grupo, ¿dónde identificaría los momentos más importantes de la trayectoria?

R: Yo te diría que el momento más importante tiene que ver, quizás, con las crisis. Yo creo que el hecho de haber enfrentado una crisis como la que enfrentamos en el año ‘82, por ejemplo, donde, en definitiva este país tenía un endeudamiento que era tan grande que mucha gente dijo “yo renegocio y ya veremos para adelante lo que hacemos”… Nuestra visión fue distinta: “no tenemos ninguna condición ni ahora ni en diez años de pagar esta deuda; por lo tanto, digámosle ahora al que le debemos: ‘no le podemos pagar’.

Enfrentamos las crisis con mucho mayor realismo; no estuvimos dispuestos a firmar “voy a pagarle en 10 años más” cuando sabíamos que no íbamos a hacerlo. Preferimos tomarnos el trago amargo. Fuimos, en ese sentido, muy severos; si no nos habíamos robado la plata, si no la habíamos gastado ni en Mercedes, ni en relojes, ni en vacaciones en Suiza, bueno, lo lógico era decirle al banco “me fue mal en el negocio”, lo cual es perfectamente posible cuando cambian las reglas del juego o cuando suben los aranceles o cuando cambia el valor del dólar y en horas pasa de valer 39 pesos a 55.

Q: Could you identify the most significant growth periods for the group?

A: I would say times of crisis were important turning points. During the 1982 crisis, for example, the country was drowned in debt, and many people thought, “we will renegotiate and then we will see.” We held a different vision. We said to ourselves, “there is no way we can pay this debt, not now and not in ten-years time, so we better tell our creditors, `we are not in a position to pay´.”

We adopted a more realistic attitude. We did not enter into ten-year payment commitments because we knew we could not meet them. We opted to swallow the bitter pill. We were very strict in this respect. We had not stolen any money; we had not spent it on a Mercedes or expensive watches, or holidays in Switzerland. Thus, the only logical choice was to tell the bank, “business went bad.” And it was perfectly reasonable, given that the rules of the game had changed, tariffs had gone up and, in a matter of hours, the rate of the Chilean peso to the US dollar had gone from Ch$39 to Ch$55.

All the interviews are audio recordings with Spanish and English transcripts. Excerpts from these interviews are included in this web guide. The collection of oral history interviews are part of Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School. Please contact Baker Library Historical Collections at to receive a full copy of the transcript.

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