Rosario Bazán
Peru
Rosario Bazán
  • Co-Founder and General Manager, Danper Trujillo S.A.C. (Canning, Agriculture)
Born Peru, January 11, 1961. BA in Engineering, National University of Trujillo (1986); MBA, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York (2000); MBA, INCAE and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez de Chile (2008)
“I take pride in the relationship among company workers and the fact that everyone—no matter what his or her job is—feels as important as a manager, in terms of his or her contribution to our organization.”

Summary

Rosario Bazán, Co-Founder and General Manager of Danper Trujillo, begins the interview by describing the challenging business environment in Peru in the 1980s, and the profound impact that it had on both society at large and her own career trajectory. She explains how her background in industrial engineering, as well as her tenacity and outgoing nature, helped her to secure a job offer, even at a time of widespread unemployment—an opportunity she likens to winning the lottery. At the same time, however, another opportunity arose when her future husband (then boyfriend) got the idea to open a pineapple processing business. Bazán faced a career defining decision between “a tremendously uncertain” path, or a stable and secure position at an established company. In the interview, she describes how she struggled to make this difficult choice. “I thought long and hard,” she recalls, “and I told myself, ‘I think that I have the abilities needed to build this project, and with it, to start creating knowledge and, most importantly, developing opportunities for people with no chance to make a living in order to get ahead.’’ This mindset—the desire to succeed in order to improve the lives of those around her—over time became a hallmark of Bazán’s inspiring leadership style.

Bazán goes on to describe the early years of the pineapple processing venture—from what it was like working with a Dutch partner, to finding and training employees, to navigating uncertain market conditions and satisfying global clients. Above all, Bazán emphasizes the company’s commitment to honoring its agreements, providing quality products, and cultivating a reputation for integrity and reliability. All of these traits served Bazán well when the pineapple processing venture succumbed to a period of massive hyperinflation in Peru in the late 1980s. She describes how she insisted that the company fill all remaining shipments, even while operating at a significant loss. The Dutch partners were so impressed by the company’s commitment that they subsequently offered Bazán and her husband the opportunity to start another business venture. As Bazán explains, “that failure became the platform for us to take on a larger project.”

This new venture became Danper, a company now known for the quality of its produce, its strides in sustainability, and its commitment to the empowerment of employees and the local community. The beginning, however, was not easy. Prolonged economic crisis and periods of hyperinflation made it difficult to secure capital, while violence and terrorism augmented risk and uncertainty. Bazán explains how the extent of social turmoil in many ways motivated her to continue pushing forward with the second venture, so that she might create opportunity for those in poverty to find employment and earn an income. She also reflects on her broader goal of proving to all Peruvians that the country “was indeed capable of producing goods that met the highest quality standards” in the world. In the interview, Bazán describes how her company ultimately achieved both of those goals, along the way diversifying into other crops and products, adapting and innovating new technologies, and investing heavily in employee training and the creation of an open and inclusive corporate culture.

Bazán concludes the interview by elaborating on her philosophy on corporate social responsibility. She explains her view that when employees feel valued and empowered, the whole company benefits—even if the pay-offs aren’t evident on the balance sheet. This is why Danper provides its employees not only a generous income, but health services, education, and leadership skills. And this commitment extends beyond the immediate company and its employees into the community more generally. In the interview, Bazán explains that, “to grow and… to maintain that growth, it is very important to build a healthy environment—not only inside the organization, treating workers truly well—but also in our community relations, which are instrumental.” Here again, Danper has excelled. In the early 2000s, the company won the Integrity and Solidarity Awrad from Radio Programas del Perú, recognizing its contributions to driving both economic and social progress.

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Rosario Bazán, Co-Founder and General Manager of Danper Trujillo, begins the interview by describing the challenging business environment in Peru in the 1980s, and the profound impact that it had on both society at large and her own career trajectory. She explains how her background in industrial engineering, as well as her tenacity and outgoing nature, helped her to secure a job offer, even at a time of widespread unemployment—an opportunity she likens to winning the lottery. At the same time, however, another opportunity arose when her future husband (then boyfriend) got the idea to open a pineapple processing business. Bazán faced a career defining decision between “a tremendously uncertain” path, or a stable and secure position at an established company. In the interview, she describes how she struggled to make this difficult choice. “I thought long and hard,” she recalls, “and I told myself, ‘I think that I have the abilities needed to build this project, and with it, to start creating knowledge and, most importantly, developing opportunities for people with no chance to make a living in order to get ahead.’’ This mindset—the desire to succeed in order to improve the lives of those around her—over time became a hallmark of Bazán’s inspiring leadership style.

Bazán goes on to describe the early years of the pineapple processing venture—from what it was like working with a Dutch partner, to finding and training employees, to navigating uncertain market conditions and satisfying global clients. Above all, Bazán emphasizes the company’s commitment to honoring its agreements, providing quality products, and cultivating a reputation for integrity and reliability. All of these traits served Bazán well when the pineapple processing venture succumbed to a period of massive hyperinflation in Peru in the late 1980s. She describes how she insisted that the company fill all remaining shipments, even while operating at a significant loss. The Dutch partners were so impressed by the company’s commitment that they subsequently offered Bazán and her husband the opportunity to start another business venture. As Bazán explains, “that failure became the platform for us to take on a larger project.”

This new venture became Danper, a company now known for the quality of its produce, its strides in sustainability, and its commitment to the empowerment of employees and the local community. The beginning, however, was not easy. Prolonged economic crisis and periods of hyperinflation made it difficult to secure capital, while violence and terrorism augmented risk and uncertainty. Bazán explains how the extent of social turmoil in many ways motivated her to continue pushing forward with the second venture, so that she might create opportunity for those in poverty to find employment and earn an income. She also reflects on her broader goal of proving to all Peruvians that the country “was indeed capable of producing goods that met the highest quality standards” in the world. In the interview, Bazán describes how her company ultimately achieved both of those goals, along the way diversifying into other crops and products, adapting and innovating new technologies, and investing heavily in employee training and the creation of an open and inclusive corporate culture.

Bazán concludes the interview by elaborating on her philosophy on corporate social responsibility. She explains her view that when employees feel valued and empowered, the whole company benefits—even if the pay-offs aren’t evident on the balance sheet. This is why Danper provides its employees not only a generous income, but health services, education, and leadership skills. And this commitment extends beyond the immediate company and its employees into the community more generally. In the interview, Bazán explains that, “to grow and… to maintain that growth, it is very important to build a healthy environment—not only inside the organization, treating workers truly well—but also in our community relations, which are instrumental.” Here again, Danper has excelled. In the early 2000s, the company won the Integrity and Solidarity Awrad from Radio Programas del Perú, recognizing its contributions to driving both economic and social progress.

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Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

Interview with Rosario Bazan, interviewed by Andrea Lluch, Lima, Peru, May 27, 2017, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/.