- 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.”
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.