Jorge Marín Correa

  • Interviewed 16 January 2008 in Santiago, Chile, by Andrea Lluch, Research Fellow, HBS
  • Clip Duration – 2:43

Mr. Marín Correa summarizes his family’s business endeavors in Chile as well as his track record at CGE. He revisits the changes introduced to the company’s organizational scheme and the milestones in its evolution over the years, focusing particularly on developments in the 1990s and investment, asset diversification, and expansion strategies. He ponders the influence of macroeconomic environments, as well as interactions between the government and society in energy issues, and concludes by outlining his management traits.

Interview Excerpt

P: La primera inquietud o propuesta para iniciar este diálogo es si tú puedes contar tu formación y los inicios en la vida empresaria, y como comentábamos, la historia de tu familia.

R: Mi abuelo creo que fue uno de los primeros que invirtió en esta compañía y su primera compra - que yo pensé que era posterior-  fue en octubre o septiembre de 1931. Cuando él tenía 30 años. Cuando su hijo mayor, mi padre, tenía 13 años. Ahí empieza a comprar acciones. Era tradición en mi familia ser accionistas de compañías estables y que, en cierta forma, tuvieran gran estabilidad en el tiempo, a pesar de los ciclos económicos. No nos olvidemos que en 1931 veníamos recién saliendo de la crisis del 29, que los historiadores deben conocer mil veces mejor que yo.

Así que de ahí nace, en realidad, o donde hemos encontrado registro de los primeros pasos de mi familia en la industria. Mi familia no había tomando posiciones de control en las compañías, siempre fue de una representación tal que le llevara a tener un Director, preferentemente un director familiar o alguno de confianza. Así que siempre las primeras inversiones no fueron más allá del 10% de cada compañía. Y la CGE rompe un poco este esquema porque, a lo largo de los años, se fue tomando posición cada vez más fuerte y hoy en día hemos pasado el 10%, y el 20%, y al haber un pacto de control de acciones que tenemos con dos grupos más, nos ha tocado asumir la Presidencia de la Compañía.

Q: To begin this conversation, I would appreciate if you would tell us about your formal education, your beginnings in the business world, and your family history.

A: I believe my grandfather was the first to invest in this company. His first acquisition of shares was made in October or September 1931 –and not earlier, as I had thought. He was thirty years old at the time, and his eldest son, my father, was thirteen. It was a family tradition to buy shares in long-standing companies which remained stable over time in spite of economic fluctuations. We must bear in mind that, in 1931, we were just getting out of the 1929 crisis, of which historians are much better informed than I am.

So, that’s when my family took its first steps in the industry, at least as far as records can attest. However, our rule was not to buy a controlling share but, rather, to acquire enough shares to enable us to appoint a director, preferably a family member or a trustworthy individual. Therefore, initial investments did not exceed 10% of shares in the company. Now, CGE has broken this pattern a bit, since, over the years, we have gradually increased our control. At present, we hold over 20%. In addition, we have entered into a control agreement with two other groups and I have been appointed company president.

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