Harvard trained economist Sebastián Piñera, a businessman-turned-politician, was Chile’s first Conservative president in decades.
Sebastián Piñera is a prominent politician, commercial engineer, economist, entrepreneur and Chilean investor. He was President of Chile between 2010 and 2014. He was also the first president pro tempore of CELAC, the Community of Latin and Caribbean Americans.
Son of José Piñera Carvallo, a Chilean government official during the gobierno del Christian Democratic President Eduardo Frei Montalva served as ambassador, Sebastián Piñera grew up between Chile, the US and Europe, and studied commercial engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, for which he received the Raul Yver Award for best graduate in mention Economics and subsequently he earned a doctorate in economics from Harvard University where he wrote a thesis entitled: “The Economics of Education in Developing Countries: A Collection of Essays”. It was at Harvard that Sebastián Piñera met many esteemed economists, including Nobel Prize Winners, and became passionate about the value of freedom and democracy. His life has been linked to business and politics.
Sebastián Piñera returned to Chile and worked as a Professor at the Economics Faculties of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the University of Chile, Adolfo Ibanez University and at the Valparaiso Business School. He also acted as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, and for the World Bank and he worked for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, where he contributed to a project called “Latin American poverty map and policies for overcoming poverty”.
After many years in consultancy and banking, Sebastián Piñera founded the enormously successful Bancard in the late 1970s. As a financial and business pioneer, the company introduced credit cards to Chile, and at the same time made him a billionaire. In 1993 he created the Fundacion Futuro – a nonprofit organization engaged in water preservation and renewable energy, and established Tantauco Park, an ecological park on the Chilean island of Chiloe.
In 1989 Sebastián Piñera turned from business to politics. His first foray into a presidential campaign was as manager of the unsuccessful campaign of Hernan Buchi, former finance minister of Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet. That same year he was elected senator for East Santiago, a seat he held until 1998. He made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2005, as the candidate of the National Renewal party. He ran again in 2009, and obtained 51.6% of the votes, making him the new President elect. On March 11, 2010, Sebastián Piñera was sworn in as the 47th President of the Republic of Chile.
During his tenure Chile’s economic growth was 5.8% in 2010; 5.9% in 2011; and 5.6% in 2012. Also 50 proposals for the competitive drive is launched, with the aim of reducing barriers to entrepreneurship, of which 11 have been implemented until early 2012.