Repositioning South America
We are pleased to share with you the results of the seventh edition of the PricewaterhouseCoopers South America CEO Survey, in connection with the 13th edition of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global CEO Survey. If we were to select one aspect arising from the current survey, which we believe deserves the highest degree of attention on the part of those stakeholders, for whom the advance of progress and welfare in the region is of vital concern, we would single out the roles of the State and the respective Governments.
During the many years of the CEO Survey - South America, we have stood witness as Governments faced significant challenges, many of which they successfully overcame, such as: control of inflation, improved fiscal responsibility, improved income distribution, with the consequent inclusion of an ever increasing part of the population in the consumer market, increase in foreign currency reserves, and corresponding reduction in countries historic vulnerability to external crises. This enabled them to successfully manage the shock waves of the recent global financial crisis. There is no doubt that South America has made significant progress on several fronts and that Government played a vital role in this process..
However, the current year’s survey reveals an unprecedented degree of recognition of the importance of the role of the governments in ensuring South America’s future development. Parallel to this high level of recognition is an equally forceful degree of skepticism regarding the likelihood to effectively deliver the required support. These misgivings arise not only from a historic absence of significant progress in crucial areas such as combating corruption, a stable and effective legal system, the need for smarter regulation and improved taxes system with a compatible level of taxes levied. They also arise from the sheer dimension of the challenges involved, the most threatening being the huge gap in hard and soft infrastructures.
Never in recent history has South America had such an opportunity to grow more rapidly and solidly. It is also no paradox that this is the first time that some of its unresolved problems could have such far-reaching and negative impacts on the materialization of such opportunities. One of the palpable results of the historic prevalence of government policies over state policies (Chile being the one honorable exception), is the current huge infrastructure gap.
The urgent and vital need to close this gap if countries are to realize their full potential will either force these countries to move to a model where states will establish policy aligned closely with private investors, which would translate into clear and stable state policies or trigger the temptation for higher state interventionism. Only time will tell which will win out.
It is important to highlight the tremendous optimism noted in most of these South American countries which, if properly sustained and channeled, could be the basis for outstanding leverage for entrepreneurship and genuine progress. Never has the opportunity for creating the ideal environment for a future of steady progress been so close. It would be a tragedy if our generation fails to harness this chance.
We hope you find the information presented here interesting and useful.
Luis E. Frisoni Jr.
Profile of CEOs
The seventh edition of the Regional CEO Survey was based on telephone interviews conducted between September and December 2009, with 194 South American executives. To better understand the South American CEO Profiles, we summarize some key selected statistics.
- Eduardo Elsztain
- Emilio Unzueta
- Claudio Geleazzi
- Roberto Angelini Rossi
- Ricardo Obregón
- María Gloria Alarcón Alcívar
- Diego Ramallo
- Fernando Belmont
- Martín Eurnekián