A Business Leader’s Involvement in the Improvement of Education



Mladen Koljatic

Monica Silva

Rafael Aguila


Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Published in


Manuel Ariztía (Don Manuel), respected owner of a leading Chilean poultry company, has forged an alliance with Melipilla, a Chilean municipality, to collaborate in the management of the local 13,176-student public education system. The instrument used for this partnership was Melipilla’s Municipal Corporation (CMM), a private, independent and apolitical nonprofit organization that provides educational and healthcare services in the city. Over the past fifteen years, Don Manuel has become a leader at CMM’s Board, driving changes in the organization’s financial and educational performance. This case describes the evolution of this leadership role, highlighting issues associated with management succession, decision making, cultural change and collaboration challenges.

Board composition has been instrumental to CMM’s financial health, which makes it an exceptional case, as many Municipal Corporations have grown greatly indebted. The case opens with the challenge faced by CMM, as its general manager, Hernán Sandoval, who has managed it since its inception, is about to retire. Additionally, board stability is threatened by the upcoming mayor election and Don Manuel’s impending retirement, as his presence has brought stability to the board over time.

This case addresses the issues of succession, management, decision making, and collaboration between business leaders and nonprofits. It may be used in courses on business leadership in social initiatives or graduate courses exploring businesses’ social engagement alternatives. Particularly, this case proves especially useful to explore collaborations in education. It may be used also in courses about social ventures to discuss the issues associated with the key role played by boards in the effective management of educational organizations. Board composition, member turnover and succession can be tackled. The case provides enough information to enable class participants to discuss how this partnership was built, key stakeholders’ needs, outcomes and future challenges, including sustainability.