Max Luksic, the heir to one of the richest clans in South America who explores a political career in Chile

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It was in April, after a trip to China, where he was reunited with the places where he had worked for the first time, that Maximiliano Luksic Lederer (36 years old, Santiago de Chile) finished making the decision that he had been chewing on since 2023: resign from the executive direction of Channel 13, the Chilean television station that he led for five years. It is a process that the third of the five children of Andrónico Luksic – the first-born of the family of Croatian origin that has the largest fortune in Chile and one of the largest in South America, of 25.7 billion dollars according to Forbes – settled this week. On Monday, through a video on his social media, he publicly announced his decision. “As of today, I close my cycle as executive director of Channel 13 and I have informed the board of directors. Furthermore, I have decided to put an end to a period of work in the private world,” he noted. The last sentence opened the door to speculation of all kinds. Politics and philanthropy are today the alternatives that the heir evaluates for his future. Those who know him say that he fulfilled his objective: he managed to balance the channel's finances and recover audiences, the challenges that his father posed to him in 2016 when he asked him to return. to Chile from Croatia to take charge of the station. In 2010 Andrónico Luksic bought 67% of the television signal from the Catholic University and in November 2017 he completed the acquisition of the remaining 33%. It is an investment that the businessman has made in his personal capacity and is not part of Quiñenco, the holding company that brings together the family companies of the group, with the exception of the mining company Antofagasta Minerals.

From the Grange to the Farm

Since he was a child studying at the Grange school, one of the elite educational establishments in Chile, Max – as he is known – was curious and good at talking. At that time he escaped by public transportation to popular neighborhoods in Santiago, such as Franklin, La Granja and Puente Alto to wander, talk with people and learn more about other realities. His adventures often alarmed his family, who, due to his fortune, have always had to take care of his safety and exposure. Today Max still has friends from this time, with whom he meets to play soccer. From the executive direction of Channel 13, he organized outings to regions to learn more about other places in Chile, where what he enjoyed most was hanging out with neighborhood groups. , social leaders, regional media and authorities. “We were going to listen to them. And he was passionate about that. Being on the ground, knowing and listening,” says a person who participated in these meetings. The other great passion in charge of 13 is the Mesa Central program, a space dedicated to political conversation and current affairs, hosted by journalist Iván Valenzuela and which It airs every Sunday morning. It was almost a tradition that Luksic arrived early to greet guests, such as ministers, parliamentarians, governors, mayors, among other authorities. From these meetings came several of his reflections linked to the political world. The executive has commented how he witnessed that civic friendship between leaders who think differently eroded over the years. At the same time, he realized that many of the leaders did not have the necessary preparation for the challenges they had to face. That experience, added to the meetings that starting in 2023 he began to have with figures from the political world, both regional and local , they convinced him that, in that space, he could be a contribution. He met with former presidents and some Latin American leaders, such as Daniel Noboa from Ecuador and Luis Lacalle Pou from Uruguay, who impressed him with the clarity of his ideas. He maintains a good relationship with Lacalle. With an ideology linked to the right, Luksic believes that he can be a contribution to management issues linked to politics. That motivated him to meet at the end of April with the presidents of the different parties of the Chilean right and center – from Republicans to Democrats and Yellows – to see spaces in which to contribute. “Yes, we met. He anticipated that he would leave the channel and his interest is the public world, specifically in roles that require management. But we are not talking about specific candidacies,” Gloria Hutt, president of Evópoli, from the liberal right, tells EL PAÍS. Her initial idea was not to bet on a candidacy, but in some of those meetings she was offered to run in the mayoral elections that were being held. will take place next October 27. The proposals that she has received and for which there are still no definitions, surprised him. He was going with the idea of ​​looking for a less visible position, as an advisor or council member, but today he is seriously considering whether to take on the challenge. He is aware of the costs that getting involved in the race for mayor would have, both for his privacy and for his family, But I would be willing to take the risk.

From glass washer to hotel manager

Max Luksic lived most of his life outside Chile. When he was 12 years old he asked his parents to send him to study in the United States. He went to boarding school in Boston for a year, an experience that was hard, where he had to learn to wash his clothes, iron and cook, but which forged his hard-working and obsessive character. After leaving school he traveled to the United States. He decided on Babson College, the same school where his four brothers and his father studied. He was in the middle of his degree, he was an average student, dedicated to rugby and friendships, when a call from Andronico made him settle down: the patriarch asked him to take advantage of the opportunity to study at one of the best business schools in the world. Whether out of pride or responsibility, Max obeyed: he graduated with honors. His next step was an MBA at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, where he specialized in hospitality marketing. He wanted to be a hotel consultant, but he lacked knowledge of operational work. He went to Beijing, a city that attracted him a lot, like the entire Asian world, and left his resume in different hotel chains. They called him from the Shangri-la, a five-star hotel where the young Luksic left washing glasses. He was then promoted to work as a second-in-command at the restaurant, where he was able to test his knowledge to seek operational and efficiency improvements. His management caught the attention of the chain's owners who put him in charge of a smaller hotel in Hong Kong. That was when his uncle Guillermo Luksic – who died of cancer in March 2013 – and his brother Davor called him to join the family's family hotel business in Croatia, where they control the Adriatic Luxury Hotels, Playa Laguna and Instraturist chains. He was there for two years, until his father asked him to travel to Chile to help him with Channel 13.


A hard worker, those who have met him on Channel 13 say that since he arrived in 2016, specifically in the digital media area, he always arrived at seven in the morning and left at 11 at night. They called him the prince, because he was the owner's son, a nickname that Luksic worked to leave behind. Somewhat quiet, low profile, but friendly and interested in learning more, he met with all areas of the channel and to this day he knows the names of most of the people who work at the station. A practice that, they say, he inherited from his father. “On the channel they love him so much. It's just that he doesn't like being treated differently because he is an authority. And they respect him a lot,” says a person from the executive area of ​​13. From digital media, he went on to sell advertising, where more than once they cut off his phone thinking it was a joke when they heard his name. Then he moved to marketing and then became deputy director. That was a tough time, the channel was going through a complex financial moment, with losses of 15,000 million pesos (about 16.2 million dollars) and had to be restructured. Together with the then executive director, Javier Urrutia, they devised a formula to transfer part of the workforce to the Spanish company Secuoya, to whom they outsourced part of the operation. The process involved the dismissal of about 300 people from the station. After that cycle, in June 2019 Max Luksic assumed executive management. Four months later was the social outbreak in Chile, a challenging time, where television and its contents were also questioned. One of the programs that he is proud of is Here we are all, which aired for two years in the afternoons and had a solidarity approach that sought to help people in need, through the community and specialists. “A couple of times children from camps went to the canal. He got lost there. He was like a child of the age to play and talk, show them the whole channel, play ping pong and talk about soccer. His eyes were shining,” recalls a person who shared with him in that space. His relationship with the actress and radio host Loreto Aravena, known for her role in the series Los 80 on Channel 13, his partner since 2017, has allowed him to Luksic also explores his more social side. Aravena's family lives in Puente Alto, a popular municipality in the southeast of Santiago, and the actress participates in community activities, such as bingos and parties to raise money for different causes. In all these events, she is always accompanied by Maximiliano. Now, the heir must decide whether to take on the political challenge to which he feels called, or opt for a more reserved space where he can carry out his vocation, through his family foundations. nuclear (We support you, Opportunity and Protection and justice). Or from the philanthropic organizations that arise from the Luksic Foundation where all branches of the clan participate and which is today led by his cousin Isabella, eldest daughter of the president of the Antofagasta Plc mining business, Jean Paul Luksic, with whom he is very close. Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS Chile newsletter and receive all the key information on current events in the country.