Michael Chu's research and teaching at HBS focuses on buinesses serving low-income populations in both emerging markets and developed nations. He is also Managing Director and co-founder of IGNIA, a venture capital firm in Mexico investing in disruptive enterprises providing goods and services to the emerging middle class.
Michael Chu was appointed a Senior Lecturer in the Social Enterprise Initiative of the General Management Group of the Harvard Business School in July 2003. He is also Managing Director of the IGNIA Fund, a venture capital firm dedicated to investing in disruptive enterprises delivering high impact goods and services to low-income populations in Mexico, which he co-founded in 2007. He continues to serve as Senior Advisor of Grupo Pegasus, a private equity firm headquartered in Buenos Aires, which he co-founded in 2000.
Chu teaches the second year elective Business at the Base of the Pyramid, a course introduced jointly with Professor V. Kasturi Rangan. He is Faculty Co-Chair of two Executive Education programs, Strategic Leadership for Inclusive Finance and Business Innovations in Global Healthcare. In the past, he has taught the course Investing and Managing in Emerging Markets, and Effective Leadership of Social Enterprises. In his academic research and teaching as well as a practitioner, for the last two decades Michael Chu has focused on business delivering goods and services to low income segments, with a particular interest in the use of commercial platforms as a response to social issues and public responsibiities.
Before Pegasus, as President & CEO of ACCION International, Chu participated in the founding of several regulated microfinance banks throughout Latin America, including Banco Solidario, which under his chairmanship has been the most profitable bank in Bolivia, Mibanco in Peru and Compartamos Banco, which following its IPO in the Mexican Stock Exchange in 2007 has been incorporated into that exchange's index.
From 1989 to 1993, as an executive and limited partner in the New York office of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, Chu was one of sixteen professionals deploying KKR’s $5.7 billion private equity fund and managing an investment portfolio with aggregate annual revenues in excess of $60 billion. He joined the private equity firm from PACE Industries, a KKR-sponsored leveraged buyout, where he served as Senior Vice President & CFO, and listed by Forbes as one of the twenty largest private companies in the United States. Previously, he held senior management positions in U.S. corporations and was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Chu currently serves on the boards of Arcos Dorados (NYSE-ARCO), Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE-SEE), on the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation (The World Bank Group) and is a Trustee Emeritus of Dartmouth College.
Chu graduated with an A.B.(Honors) from Dartmouth College and received a M.B.A. with highest distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School.
Chu was born in Kunming, China and grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay. He and his wife Victoria Cowling Chu reside in West Newton, MA.