Renowned Peruvian economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski likes to keep things simple.
This approach, which is even applied to his name--he is known simply as PPK--and his generally laid back attitude, have helped carry him through fifty-plus working years wearing numerous hats.
A prominent international economist and pioneering emerging markets investor, his achievements also include presidential candidate, avid flautist and piano player, and philanthropist.
"I have always followed the same general principles: One, try to learn something from whatever you're doing. You've got to move on and move up, you can't stay stuck Two, be very simple and practical. And three, work with a small team. Don't empire-build and do enormous schemes that don't work," says PPK, 74, in his distinctive unhurried speech.
He brought his small-team philosophy to his 10-year stint at First Boston Corporation (today Credit Suisse) in New York City, beginning in 1982. "When I was on Wall Street, I had a little team of maybe 10 people, which was considered tiny by Wall Street standards, but I'd say we produced some pretty important results," says PPK. "I opened up emerging markets (at the bank). I started out in South East Asia when very few people were going there. We worked hard on China, Taiwan, Korea, and Spain, which hadn't really been discovered until then."
His lengthy CV also lists top jobs in private equity, mining and hedge fund management. However, PPK'S involvement in Peru's political scene --where he is known as "El Gringo" because of his U.S. citizenship--is what has garnered him most attention in recent years.
He ran for president in Peru's 2011 elections, arriving late to the race but quickly gaining ground. Despite an enthusiastic, well-strategized campaign--his campaign mascot was "PPKuy" in reference to the "cuy," an Andean guinea pig native to Peru--he came in third place, losing to current President Ollanta Humala. (During the first electoral round PPK captured 19 percent of the vote to Ollanta's 32 percent and Keiko Fujimori's 24 percent. He did not advance to the run-off.)
It was by no means his...