Flying High

Oct 4, 2004

Latin America's best-run airline, LAN, has marked its 10th straight year of profits. Enrique Cueto, LatinFinance's CEO of the Year, is the man who made it happen.

Enrique Cueto
Enrique Cueto set out to break the notion that the topsy-turvy aviation industry only attracts masochists. At the helm of LAN, he says he's done that. Almost.

"Well, maybe there's still a little masochism," concedes Cueto, who directs an anomaly, an international airline that makes money. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 1997 and boasting stock prices that have risen almost vertically in the past two years, Latin America's most profitable carrier has become a model of how to do things right. While other airline executives shuffled through bankruptcy papers, lobbied their governments for bailouts and pleaded with unionized workers for givebacks, Cueto led LAN to a record $102.9 million in pretax income last year and is posting a money-making 2004, earning the Chilean the CEO of the Year honor from LatinFinance.

LAN has never lost money since cautious Cueto took over a decade...

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