Santiago Hidalgo is a passionate life-long learner, who has lived in 4 countries and has seeded several businesses. He is also a reputed Board member and an advisor and mentor to several CEOs.
Since 2006, Santiago is Renaissance Executive Forums’ business representative in Ecuador (www.executiveforums.com). REF is a California-based firm that organizes Peer-to-Peer Advisory Boards for top executives throughout 15 countries. Santiago currently manages 10 Forums in Quito, working on a monthly basis with over 140 of the most important CEOs in his country. These Forums offer a unique environment were CEOs discuss real business issues and gain insights from peers to improve their decisions and ultimately their lives. He also sits in several Boards, including multinational companies, local corporations, and NGOs.
In 2013, Santiago co-founded LabXXI (www.lab-xxi.com), a social entrepreneurship that is making a positive dent on Ecuador’s educational system, offering a state-of-the-art soft skills training program to low income, public schools. LabXXI´s innovative training programs have touched the lives of thousands of students and workers.
Formerly a corporate banker for nearly 20 years, Santiago managed ABN-AMRO Bank N.V. and Royal Bank of Scotland’s operations in Ecuador, Perú, and Venezuela. Almost a decade ago, he voluntarily left his successful banking path to gain a better work / family balance and be able to launch several independent ventures.
During his time with ABN & RBS, Santiago successfully closed corporate and investment banking deals for over $5 billion throughout the Andean region. Some of his most visible transactions as a banker include the sale of two important oil blocks in Ecuador to a group of European and Asian investors, the merger of SAB Miller’s Ecuadorean subsidiaries, and the sale of Ecuador Bottling Company, at-the-time the exclusive Coke bottler to a Mexican conglomerate.
Santiago taught several Finance courses at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) for over 6 years. USFQ is the #1 ranked University in Ecuador and stands within the 50 top business schools in Latin America; it is the only university in the world to have campus facilities in the Galapagos Islands and in the Amazon Rainforest, where world-class scientists conduct groundbreaking research and teaching.
Santiago graduated in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (1993), and received an MBA, from Portland State University (1995).
Santiago is based in Quito. He lives a life of plenitude and freedom, enjoying his various professional activities, but is also an active mountain biker, and motorcycle traveler.
Finally, a quick word on Santiago’s top priority: his family. His wife Paulina, a clinical psychologist, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Fundación Azulado (www.fundacionazulado.org), a growing NGO devoted to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Their son Felipe (19) studies at UT-Austin and their daughter Sofía (16) is currently a sophomore in Quito.