Harvard trained economist Sebastián Piñera was President of Chile. He is recognised as introducing credit cards to Chile and stimulating the economy. Becoming globally recognised during 2010 when 33 Chilean miners were rescued over the course of over two months, he appeared regularly at the rescue site. Applying business know-how to government, he presents himself as the face of change and a compassionate Conservative.
Sebastian Pinera - businessman and politician - served as president of Chile from 2010 until March 2014.
Sebastian grew up between Chile, the US and Europe, as his father worked with the Chilean government. In 1971, he received his degree as a Commercial Engineer and was honoured with the Raul Iver award for graduating at the top of his class.
A Doctorate in Economics at Harvard University followed, where he wrote a thesis entitled: “The Economics of Education in Developing Countries: A Collection of Essays”. It was at Harvard that Sebastian met many esteemed economists, including Nobel Prize Winners, and became passionate about the value of freedom and democracy.
Sebastian returned to Chile and worked as a Professor at the Economics Faculties of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the University of Chile, Adolfo Ibanez University and at the Valparaiso Business School. He also acted as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, and for the World Bank and he worked for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, where he contributed to a project called “Latin American poverty map and policies for overcoming poverty”.
After many years in consultancy and banking, Sebastian founded the enormously successful Bancard in the late 1970s. As a financial and business pioneer, the company introduced credit cards to Chile, and at the same time made him a billionaire. In 1993 he created the Fundacion Futuro - a nonprofit organization engaged in water preservation and renewable energy, and established Tantauco Park, an ecological park on the Chilean island of Chiloe.
In 1989 Sebastian turned from business to politics. His first foray into a presidential campaign was as manager of the unsuccessful campaign of Hernan Buchi, former finance minister of Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet. That same year he was elected senator for East Santiago, a seat he held until 1998. He made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2005, as the candidate of the National Renewal party. He ran again in 2009, and obtained 51.6% of the votes, making him the new President elect. On March 11, 2010, Sebastian was sworn in as the 47th President of the Republic of Chile.