Argentina

Tomás Hudson 

  • President, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) (now part of Akzo Nobel) (Chemicals)
Born Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1932. BSc., University of Cambridge (1955).
“Our focus was on getting to know the product in order to adapt it to the market … and providing technical support. I believe we were innovators, both in product development and better customer service.”

Transcript

Tomás Hudson discusses his decades of experience working for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI),the once-leading British-based chemical company, in Argentina, the U.S., and Mexico. He describes the growth of ICI holdings in Latin America, and the company’s evolving relationships with governments, including the military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. He also describes how he managed the foreign-owned company in a volatile, conflict-ridden economy which experienced hyperinflation at the end of the 1980s. Hudson shows how these crisis conditions impacted managerial time horizons. Hudson articulates his own frustrations with high inflation rates and the impossibility of long-term planning. This interviews shed particular light on how a leading multinational was organized in the region, including the relationship between headquarters and subsidiaries. Hudson examines a wide range of issues, including innovation, labor relations, marketing and advertising, local and international development of products, and the opportunities and challenges faced by multinational corporations in Latin America in his era.

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Resources

  • Rory M. Miller, “Staffing and Management in British MNEs in Argentina and Chile, 1930–1970,” in Geoffrey Jones and Andrea Lluch, eds., The Impact of Globalization on Argentina and Chile: Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, 2015
  • Andrea Lluch and Norma Silvana Lanciotti, “Las empresas europeas en Argentina: Condicionantes, destinos de inversión y cambios organizativos entre la primera y la segunda guerra mundial,” Desarrollo Económico 52, no. 205 (2012): 119-146
  • Alberto Müller and Natalia Petelski, “La industria petroquímica argentina: Concentración técnica, centralización económica, extranjerización,” in Alberto Müller, ed., Industria, Desarrollo, Historia, Ensayos en homenaje a Jorge Schvarzer. Buenos Aires: Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2009
  • Tomás N. Hudson, Mariano Necochea, coraje indomable: Vida del general Mariano Pascual Necochea (1792–1849). Dunken, 2006
  • Datamonitor, Akzo Nobel N.V. SWOT Analysis, 2008
  • Carol Kennedy, ICI: The Company That Changed Our Lives. P. Chapman Pub., c.1993

  • Interview citation: "Interview with Tomás Hudson, interviewed by Andrea Lluch, December 17, 2008, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/businesshistory/emerging-markets/."