News & Highlights

  • June 2022
  • Creating Emerging Markets

Creating Emerging Markets Interview: María Emilia Correa

María Emilia Correa is co-founder of Sistema B, a Latin American organization promoting new economies and B Corporations. In her interview, she recalls how after returning to Colombia in 1985 after finishing her masters in New York City, she took a job with The Nature Conservancy and the Natura Foundation where she pursued her interest in biological resource conservation. After attending United Nations Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Correa became inspired by the idea that the business sector could be a positive agent to build a balanced and sustainable society. After working with in several civil society organizations focused on helping business to become more sustainable, in 1999 she became the first sustainability vice president at Grupo Nueva, a multinational investment holding company specialized in forestry and wood derivatives. This experience enabled her to acquire expertise in many key business functions. This interview is part of the Creating Emerging Markets project which provides a unique research and teaching resource on business leadership in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East over recent decades.
  • JUNE 2022

Creating Emerging Markets Interview: Erling Lorentzen

Erling Lorentzen relates his experience growing up in Norway as part of family of shipping magnates and industrialists, his service during World War II, his educational experience at Harvard Business School, his marriage into the Norwegian royal family, and his eventual move to Brazil in 1953. There, he pursued a career in the petroleum industry and in shipping. In 1968, he founded the Aracruz Celulose company, which became a massive manufacturer of pulp and paper. Lorentzen oversaw the construction of the largest pulp mill in Brazil and the acquisition of large forestry operations. He describes the difficulty of growing the business amid periods of rapid inflation, the challenges of raising money overseas (including by becoming the first Brazilian company listed on New York Stock Exchange), and by facing and confronting issues of sustainability. This interview is part of the Creating Emerging Markets project which provides a unique research and teaching resource on business leadership in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East over recent decades.
  • May 2022

Discussion on Sustainable Development and Climate Adaptation in the Amazon Basin

In celebration of the HBS Case Centennial, this May the Latin America Research Center hosted an event with Professor John Macomber on “Sustainable Development and Climate Adaptation in the Amazon Basin”. Topics included new HBS research about climate adaptation and finance in the face of perils like flooding, wildfire, and drought. Professor Macomber also discussed how and when these and other perils might impact the environmental and economic stability of the Amazon region, the participants, their strategies, and how global carbon mitigation and sustainability efforts will play out. The panel included a Nobel Peace prize winner, a Brazilian academic expert, a local entrepreneur, and VP of Sustainability of a global company. More than 80 alumni and friends of LARC joined the event.
  • March 2022

What They’re Made of: Secrets and Stories of Leaders on the Edge: Interview with David Velez

In this latest installment of “What They’re Made of: Secrets and Stories of Leaders on the Edge,” Professor Ranjay Gulati speaks with David Velez, Founder and CEO of Nubank, the largest financial technology bank in Latin America. Throughout the conversation, Velez explains how his own entrepreneurial spirit and core values motivated him to take on the behemoths of banking in Brazil by creating a new customer-obsessed digital banking platform. Through its core values of challenging the status quo and fighting complexity to empower people, Nubank has completely disrupted the largest industry in Latin America, and, in doing so, changed the lives of over 40 million Brazilians.
  • February 2022

How the Pandemic Changed Case Development in Latin America

At HBS, research and case development are tightly intertwined. Cases provide the opportunity for faculty to develop ideas, gain insight into nascent research questions, and illustrate theory in practice. In addition, case writing provides a vehicle for faculty collaboration and helps faculty develop research ideas across disciplines and across institutions. In this dynamic case development process, faculty may be supported by a team of researchers and case writers based at HBS Research Centers around the globe. In this article, LARC discuss how the pandemic impacted case development in the region.

New Research on the Region

  • September 2022
  • Case

QED Invests in Africa

By: Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui and James Barnett

In March 2022, investors at venture capital firm QED consider strategy for establishing business in Africa.

  • September 2022
  • Case

ROI vs. ROI: The Grupo Baobá Family Office

By: Lauren Cohen, Hao Gao, Jiawei Ye and Grace Headinger

Fernando Scodro, a third-generation member of his family, mulled over the next step in integrating an ESG strategy into his family office’s investment portfolio. While his family office, Grupo Baobá, had made excellent progress in incorporating his family’s values into their individually owned assets, such as VC and real estate, he weighed how to expand their ESG strategy in future investments. How should the family evaluate the relative benefits of an asset's return on investment versus return on impact? What would a forward-looking ESG strategy look like for his family – and other families who were their co-investment partners? How could Fernando convince external partners of his strategy’s imperative and cultivate likeminded managers and financial products to achieve his goals? Finally, when should the family instead prioritize achieving impact through philanthropic initiatives? However he chose, he knew that the paths he advocated for within his family would impact all future generations of the Grupo Baobá Family Office.

  • September 2022
  • Case

BancoSol: Financial Inclusion in the Perfect Storm

By: Michael Chu and Carla Larangeira

In the pandemic, financial inclusion icon BancoSol faces a government-mandated year-long deferral of all loan payments, followed by the sudden Covid death of its CEO. In a Bolivia mired in political turmoil following a failed presidential election, with clients not obligated to pay either interest or principal from March to the end of 2020, the bank faces a severe cash deficit. This is exacerbated by the regulatory determination that, as the deferrals are mandated, loans must be deemed current and performing and resulting profits continue subject to income taxes that must be paid. BancoSol management must decide how to respond to this crisis. When the mandated deferrals come to an end, the bank regulators issue instructions as to how the restructuring must take place. As the total deferred amounts add up to 85% of its loan portfolio, this is a critical matter for BancoSol. Prior to the regulatory instructions, management had painstakingly designed its own restructuring program. Convinced that it is the optimal way to proceed, management strongly recommends its implementation regardless of contradicting the regulatory instructions. The deteriorating financial condition of the bank adds urgency to the decision. In the midst of these issues, in February 2021, Covid suddenly claims the life of the bank’s longtime CEO, Kurt Koenigsfest, the architect of the modern BancoSol. With the bank’s very existence at stake, Esteban Altschul, the chair of the board of directors, must come to grips with how the restructuring of the deferred loans will take place and how the various management gaps exposed by Koenigsfest’s death will be filled. At the same time, convinced that the future leadership of BancoSol is linked to its adaptation to the digital age, Altschul must assess the efforts of the bank to-date in this area and how it should proceed in the future.

See more research

Montevideo Staff

Fernanda Miguel
Christopher P. Torto Executive Director
Mariana Cal
Assistant Director, Research
Jenyfeer Martínez Buitrago
Senior Researcher
Maria Martha Ruiz Melo
Office Manager

Mexico City Staff

Carla Larangeira
Senior Researcher

São Paulo Staff

Ruth Costas
Senior Researcher
Patricia Thome
Brazil Office & Regional Program Manager
Pedro Levindo
Senior Researcher