Fernando Chico Pardo ’76
Investing to advance the Mexican economy
By Rachel Farrell
For longtime investor Fernando Chico Pardo ’76
, the investment business isn’t just about financial returns. It’s about working with companies that contribute to the welfare of others.
"I’m a firm believer that companies have a social responsibility," says Chico Pardo, who lives in Mexico and is most interested in investing in companies that benefit the Mexican economy, society and environment. "They have to make profits, of course, but they also have a huge responsibility to the environment and their employees. They should help their employees, educate them and make them better people."
With that core belief, Chico Pardo is a selective investor — in the best kind of way. As founder and president of Promecap, a financial advisory firm, he targets private equity investments and investment banking transactions that are associated with family businesses, often in the industries of steel, banking or tourism.
Many family businesses, he says, need help "increasing their professionalism, maximizing their shareholders’ value and becoming more socially responsible" in order to thrive in the competitive business world.
"Family businesses [sometimes] need help in dealing with investment opportunities … and correcting their balance sheet between debt and capital," Chico Pardo says.
Chico Pardo also serves as the majority shareholder and president of the board of directors for Grupo ASUR (Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste), a company that operates nine airports in southeastern Mexico. In 2003, he purchased the company and led it through a privatization effort, which paved the way for the expansion and modernization of the airports.
Cancun International Airport is now the first airport in Mexico to offer simultaneous operations (planes can take off and land at the same time) and, with the addition of a third terminal, is capable of handling 30 million passengers annually — double what it could a few years ago. The airport was recently named the best airport in Latin America and fifth best airport in the world. Chico Pardo notes that improved aviation in Mexico has helped the tourism industry, created jobs and encouraged developing areas to build new hotels to entice travelers.
Outside of his day job, Chico Pardo is heavily involved in several service-oriented organizations. He presides over the board of trustees for Universidad Iberoamericana, which was recently named the best private university in Mexico. He believes in the school’s humanistic values and understands the power of education to change lives. "I was very lucky to have an education," he says. "My Kellogg education allowed me to become a leader in Mexico."
Chico Pardo sits on the boards of several leading companies in Mexico and Latin America, including Grupo CARSO, Sanborn’s and Sears Roebuck de Mexico. He is also on the board of the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative that drives socially responsible behavior in the public and private sectors worldwide.
In addition, for the past 20 years, he has worked pro bono on the investments committee for the U.N.’s Joint Staff Pension Fund, which provides retirement, death, disability and related benefits for United Nations staff. As a service to the U.N. Secretary General, Chico Pardo guides investment decisions for the $40 billion fund, helping to safeguard the financial well-being of the organization’s 100,000 workers.
Protecting the U.N. is something that Chico Pardo deeply values. He recognizes the role of the U.N. in securing the health and safety of the world, and feels it’s his duty to contribute to the effort.
"I believe that by supporting institutions such as the U.N., the world has a place to solve its differences," he explains. "These institutions are the only places where countries can talk through their disagreements. It’s my obligation to help them become better and more efficient."
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2010 edition of Kellogg World Alumni Magazine