Ricardo Salinas Pliego
Mexico
Ricardo Salinas Pliego
  • CEO, Grupo Salinas (Diversified)
Born Mexico City, Mexico, 1955. Bachelors, Accounting, Tecnológico de Monterrey (1977); MA, Tulane University (1979).
“Our proposal was to create a bank for the base of the pyramid; it was a bank that promoted social integration, providing access to the financial system to all of those who did not have access…”

Summary

Ricardo Salinas Pliego recounts the development and growth of Grupo Salinas, a diversified group involved in the television, telecommunications, and banking sectors. Driven by an interest in economic theory he inherited from his father, Pliego obtained a BA in accounting in 1977 and an MBA at Tulane University in 1979. After working briefly in the US, he returned to Mexico to help his father run the family business at Elektra. When the economy collapsed a year later in 1982, the runaway government of the authoritarian PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) took control and placed undue blame on the private business sector for rapid inflation. In the midst of the crisis, Pliego transitioned from his role as Head of Imports, to Commercial Director, to CEO when his father retired, all by age 32. In 1983 Elektra went bankrupt, and Pliego became heavily involved in its revival. The interview explores how he reduced the company’s dependence on credit and lowered operational expenses, and how this significantly boosted growth. Over the following 10 years Elektra grew from 50 stores to approximately 400 (and in 2013, there were nearly 6,000). Pliego explains how he later acquired Imevision (now Television Azteca), and founded a fee-free, inclusive bank for the “base of the pyramid” of society, a bank meant to help poor people access credit.

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Ricardo Salinas Pliego recounts the development and growth of Grupo Salinas, a diversified group involved in the television, telecommunications, and banking sectors. Driven by an interest in economic theory he inherited from his father, Pliego obtained a BA in accounting in 1977 and an MBA at Tulane University in 1979. After working briefly in the US, he returned to Mexico to help his father run the family business at Elektra. When the economy collapsed a year later in 1982, the runaway government of the authoritarian PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) took control and placed undue blame on the private business sector for rapid inflation. In the midst of the crisis, Pliego transitioned from his role as Head of Imports, to Commercial Director, to CEO when his father retired, all by age 32. In 1983 Elektra went bankrupt, and Pliego became heavily involved in its revival. The interview explores how he reduced the company’s dependence on credit and lowered operational expenses, and how this significantly boosted growth. Over the following 10 years Elektra grew from 50 stores to approximately 400 (and in 2013, there were nearly 6,000). Pliego explains how he later acquired Imevision (now Television Azteca), and founded a fee-free, inclusive bank for the “base of the pyramid” of society, a bank meant to help poor people access credit.
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Additional Resources

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Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Ricardo Salinas Pliego, interviewed by Regina García Cuéllar, May 31, 2013, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."