Henry Eder Caicedo
Colombia
Henry Eder Caicedo
  • Chairman of the Board, Inversiones Manuelita (Agribusiness)
Born Cali, Colombia, 1935. B.A. in Physics, Williams College (1956); B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1957).
“Working at a public organization has taught me how to deal with public powers – you have to get along with them. If one is a businessman, one also has to get along with politicians and understand what matters to them and how they think.”

Summary

Henry Eder Caicedo is Chairman of the Board of Manuelita, a Colombian-based agribusiness corporation which traced its origins back to a small sugar mill established by his great-grandfather James Martin Eder, an American citizen, in 1864. After joining the family business in 1965 after the kidnapping of his father by the FARC, a radical guerrilla movement engaged in a long-running insurgency, Eder worked to expand and diversify Manuelita. He led the expansion to Peru, Brazil, and Chile and into new businesses, the most successful of which are two palm tree plantations and, more recently, biofuels. The company currently produces 11,000 tons of refined sugar annually, and its other activities include ownership of the world's largest contiguous shrimp farm. In this interview, Eder discusses how the company has sought to diversify only in areas that it to leverage their knowledge and skillset within the context of their long-term strategic vision. Eder also discusses the financial crisis that hit Colombia in the 1990s, and explains that Manuelita was able to survive due to the pricing protection policy, which made it possible to endure difficult times by protecting crops including sugar and palm trees through a tiered-pricing scheme in the Andean market. Eder recounts his time as mayor of Cali, discusses his company’s relationship with the government, and addresses the problem of corruption in Colombia. He also discusses how his family has been able to sustain a multi-generational family business by a tradition that has welcomed younger generations into business meetings, and sought to expose them at an early age to the businesses owned by the company. Eder concludes this interview by discussing Manuelita’s extensive social impact mission through sustainability, housing improvements, and an initiative to improve education through technology.

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Henry Eder Caicedo is Chairman of the Board of Manuelita, a Colombian-based agribusiness corporation which traced its origins back to a small sugar mill established by his great-grandfather James Martin Eder, an American citizen, in 1864. After joining the family business in 1965 after the kidnapping of his father by the FARC, a radical guerrilla movement engaged in a long-running insurgency, Eder worked to expand and diversify Manuelita. He led the expansion to Peru, Brazil, and Chile and into new businesses, the most successful of which are two palm tree plantations and, more recently, biofuels. The company currently produces 11,000 tons of refined sugar annually, and its other activities include ownership of the world's largest contiguous shrimp farm. In this interview, Eder discusses how the company has sought to diversify only in areas that it to leverage their knowledge and skillset within the context of their long-term strategic vision. Eder also discusses the financial crisis that hit Colombia in the 1990s, and explains that Manuelita was able to survive due to the pricing protection policy, which made it possible to endure difficult times by protecting crops including sugar and palm trees through a tiered-pricing scheme in the Andean market. Eder recounts his time as mayor of Cali, discusses his company’s relationship with the government, and addresses the problem of corruption in Colombia. He also discusses how his family has been able to sustain a multi-generational family business by a tradition that has welcomed younger generations into business meetings, and sought to expose them at an early age to the businesses owned by the company. Eder concludes this interview by discussing Manuelita’s extensive social impact mission through sustainability, housing improvements, and an initiative to improve education through technology.
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Additional Resources

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Interview Citation Format

Interview with Henry Eder Caicedo, interviewed by Andrea Lluch, Bogotá, Colombia, November 21, 2018, Creating Emerging Markets Oral History Collection, Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School.