The Corporate Women
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Iris Fontbona: Chile’s Visionary Business Leader and Philanthropist


Iris Fontbona, a prominent figure in Chile’s business arena, is a name synonymous with both affluence and philanthropy. Born in 1942 or 1943, she has established herself as a billionaire businesswoman and the most affluent individual in Chile. Her extraordinary journey, marked by business acumen and benevolence, serves as an inspiration to many. As of 2024, Forbes estimated her net worth at an impressive 2,510 crores USD, solidifying her standing as one of the world’s most influential and prosperous individuals.

Inheriting a Mining Legacy

Iris Fontbona’s ascension in the business world began following the passing of her husband, Andrónico Luksic Abaroa, in 2005 due to cancer. Inheriting the bulk of her husband’s expansive business empire, she assumed control of a diversified conglomerate, propelling her towards becoming one of the world’s most influential women.

While the Luksic legacy extended to their three sons, Guillermo, Jean-Paul, and Andrónico, it was Jean-Paul who took the helm of Antofagasta, the copper mining arm of the Luksic Group. Antofagasta stands as a major player in the global mining industry, ranking among the largest mining companies globally.

A Varied Business Portfolio

Iris Fontbona and her family wield significant influence over Antofagasta, a Santiago-based mining company. Through Quiñenco, a publicly traded entity, they oversee a diverse array of businesses, including Banco de Chile, Madeco (a copper products manufacturer), CCU (Chile’s largest brewer), and CSAV (a shipping company), ranked as the 16th largest globally in Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).

In the years following her husband’s passing, Fontbona demonstrated remarkable business acumen, steering their family enterprise towards new heights of success. This included transforming their business into the second-largest bank in Chile, the world’s largest brewer, manager of the globe’s largest copper mines, and controller of the world’s most extensive shipping company.

Aside from these ventures, Fontbona ventured into luxury hospitality with two hotel chains and a lavish resort in Croatia. Her diverse business portfolio reflects her adeptness in navigating multiple industries.

A notable strategic move was her acquisition of a 70% stake in Chilean television station Canal 13, indicating her interest in media and entertainment. While her influence in the company seems mostly indirect, major decisions often require her approval, especially those impacting operations overseen by her son, Andrónico Luksic Craig.

A Heart for Philanthropy

Iris Fontbona is not only recognised for her business prowess but also for her sincere philanthropy. In 2015, she made a groundbreaking donation of CL$ 3.1 billion (approximately US$3.9 million) to the annual Chilean Telethon, a charity event supporting children with physical disabilities. Her involvement extended beyond financial contributions, as she appeared on television during the telethon, advocating for the cause.

In 2016, Fontbona once again displayed her generosity by donating CL$ 4.4 billion (approximately US$5.5 million), setting new fundraising records for the event. Her philanthropic endeavours underscore her dedication to the well-being of Chilean children and her commitment to making a positive impact on society.

A Life of Significance

Iris Fontbona’s life journey is one of extraordinary significance. Born into a Catholic family, she met Andrónico Luksic Abaroa at 17, marrying him by the age of 20. Their life together was characterised by success, family, and a shared devotion to the Roman Catholic faith.

Despite life’s challenges, including the loss of a son to lung cancer, Fontbona’s commitment to family and business remained unwavering. She divides her time among primary residences in Vitacura, Santiago, Chile, Belgravia in London, and Liechtenstein.

Notably, Iris Fontbona maintains a low profile, seldom granting interviews. Nevertheless, her philanthropic and business endeavours have propelled her into the global spotlight, solidifying her legacy as a Chilean mining magnate with a compassionate heart for giving back to her community and the world.



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