IMF Latin America Head Quits to Work for Chile’s Richest Family

The International Monetary Fund’s leading economist for Latin America resigned from the Washington-based lender to run a television channel owned by Chile’s wealthiest family.

Nicolas Eyzaguirre, director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department, will become chairman of Canal 13 television, which is controlled by the Luksic family, the fund said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. He started his job in 2009 and was finance minister in Chile from 2000 to 2006.

Eyzaguirre is relinquishing his responsibilities immediately, the lender said without naming a successor. The IMF website lists David Vegara as acting director of the Western Hemisphere department.

“Nicolas’ vision and high-level economic policy making experience were instrumental in the Fund’s successful engagement in the region over the last three and half years,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in yesterday’s statement. “I have appreciated his wise counsel.”

Eyzaguirre is joining a company controlled by a family that holds majority stakes in activities ranging from copper mining to brewing.

Iris Fontbona, widow of mining magnate Andronico Luksic, is the wealthiest person in Chile and 37th richest in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Her family owns Quinenco SA, a Santiago-based company that controls Banco de Chile, Chile’s largest lender by assets, and Cia Cervecerias Unidas SA, the nation’s biggest beer company.

Chile’s former Energy Minister Rodrigo Alvarez and Alejandro Jadresic, former head of the country’s energy commission, will join the board at Canal 13, the television channel said in a statement e-mailed yesterday.

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