- Chair, Grupo Ultra (Petroleum and Natural Gas; Chemicals)
Born Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1940. BSc. Industrial Engineering, Pontifical Catholic University (1962).
“You don’t sell the molecule; you sell the effect. This means you need more technology, you need more people, you need more technical assistance, greater interaction with the client, a deeper relation. That is what we learned.”
Paulo Cunha, chair of Grupo Ultra, the fourth largest company in Brazil in 2014, discusses the evolution and professionalization of the company, from its early years as a gas distributor in Brazil to its eventual involvement in petrochemicals, widespread fuel distribution, and fertilization projects throughout Latin America and the United States. He recalls the business environment of the 1970s, when the Brazilian economy grew rapidly and the company began its initial forays into international partnerships. Cunha also recounts the reorganization he instituted after taking control of the company in 1982 and the challenges of completing successful acquisitions in the petrochemical industry.