Erling Lorentzen, MBA 1948


Interview conducted in March 2000

Erling Lorentzen, HBS 1948, was a leader of the underground resistance against German occupation forces in his native Norway during World War II. That experience brought him to HBS as a student. After graduating he joined the family business in Norway, but decided to strike out on his own to Brazil, where his family had shipping lines. Soon he saw an opportunity for a new business. His idea was to create eucalyptus forests in a deforested but fertile area of Brazil’s interior and to then turn the trees into pulp for paper. Erling established a first-class research center in Aracruz to study eucalyptus plants. That research has paid off: the plants in his forests now grow from saplings to soaring trees in just seven years. To manufacture the pulp, Erling also built what became the world’s largest pulp mill—Aracruz Celulose SA—which in 2009 merged with VCP and was renamed Fibria. Erling shared his remarkable business experiences during a video interview at his office in Rio de Janeiro in March 2000. Interviewer: Amy Blitz, HBS Director of Media Development for Entrepreneurial Management.

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