ITAM’s Seventieth Anniversary Celebration: Business Perspectives Seminar

As part of its seventieth anniversary celebrations, ITAM and its Alumni Association held the 2016 Business Perspectives Seminar, gathering renowned professionals in the automotive, entrepreneurial, entertainment, corporate, and academic sectors to discuss the challenges and expectations they face. Dr. Arturo Fernández, ITAM’s President, gave the opening remarks in Raùl Baillères Auditorium at ITAM’s Río Hondo Campus. He pointed out the important role of our alumni in the corporate world and in the creation of new businesses, thereby highlighting ITAM’s contribution on its 70th anniversary.

Panel: Mexico’s Outlook in the Automotive Sector

Bruno Cattori, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles México, began his speech stressing how the company values leadership training. He pointed out that there are several initiatives that have not been publicized, such as the engineering centers. Ernesto Hernández, CEO of General Motors Mexico, also mentioned the significance of Mexico to GMC as the second-highest buyer of automotive parts. They both highlighted Mexico’s role in the automotive industry as the fourth highest exporter worldwide and how they were optimistic about continued growth in the future.

 

Panel: Business Trends in the Digital World

Max Linares, CEO Toys for Boys Mexico, served as moderator and included: Santiago Kuribreña, CEO of Twitter Mexico, and Francisco Sordo, CEO of UBER Mexico. They spoke of how technological changes have led to user demands for better quality products and services, and how their companies have adapted by changing their business strategies.

 

Panel: Entrepreneurship

Fernando Lelo de Larrea, CEO and Cofounder of ALL VP, served as moderator and included the following participants:  David Arana, CEO and Founder of Konfio; Adolfo Babatz, CEO and Founder of Clip; Adalberto Flores, CEO and Founder of Kueski; Diego Solórzano, CEO and Founder of Carrot. Fernando, Adalberto and Diego are ITAM’s alumni. During this talk, they addressed the challenges facing their companies and how the lack of investment in Mexico is only a matter of perception attributed to bad press abroad. They also stated that this image can be changed by fostering entrepreneurship in universities and in programs, namely ITAM’s Epic Lab.

 

CFO’s Panel: Promoting Change in Businesses

The participants in this panel were Rodrigo Guzmán, CFO of Mexichem; Roberto Palacios, CFO of City Express; and América Taracido, CFO of Smurfit Carton. They are all ITAM alumni. In their talk, the participants mentioned the benefit of having a risk matrix to assess financial and operational risks, as well as the benefits of having well-defined work plans, and policies regarding security and legal issues. They assured that these elements will not only improve profitability but also business and manufacturing processes.

 

Alejandro Soberón, CEO of CIE

Alejandro Soberón, CEO of CIE, addressed the evolution of the entertainment industry over the past 25 years. He stated that the concert industry in Mexico used to be discarded as very risky because of the handling of large crowds.  However, the industry changed thanks to the Australian band INXS, the first to perform a large scale concert in Palacio de los Deportes, paving the way for these types of concerts. Nowadays, consumers have the upper hand and are even deciding on the programming. Moreover, he pointed out the challenges involved in a large scale international concert, namely meeting the consumer’s demands, organizing events, adapting a venue, and planning the logistics.

 

Martin Werner, CEO of Goldman Sachs Mexico

Martin Werner, CEO of Goldman Sachs Mexico and ITAM professor and alumni, gave the last talk regarding the prospects in the financial sector. He mentioned that the Mexican stock market faced some challenges, particularly the inclusion of more companies in the Mexican Stock Exchange. He urged investment in the health, energy, and technology sectors. In addition, he explained the financing of big businesses in Mexico, which are the main bond issuers, and a new type of financial instrument, CKD’s (Structured Equity Securities), which has been successfully received by the market for the past eight years.

Dr. Alejandro Hernández, ITAM’s Provost, gave the closing remarks thanking all the representatives from these great companies for their participation and for establishing stronger ties with ITAM.  He also stressed the importance of entrepreneurship, a field in which ITAM and its Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EPIC LAB) have strived and have made great achievements through our young entrepreneurs.

 

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