Erik Peterson has more than 25 years of experience in private equity and investment banking in Latin America. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hacienda Esmeralda, a leading entity in the production of specialty coffee and dairy in Panama, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Patricia Price Peterson Foundation, a private foundation that focuses on supporting youth and educational initiatives in Central America.
Peterson was appointed the new Chairman of the Zamorano Board of Trustees in June 2020. He assumes this position with the clear vision of continuing to promote the university as a leading educational institution for agriculture in Latin America, through the constant incorporation of new technology in both academic content and in its teaching methodologies.
Erik Peterson joined the Zamorano Board of Trustees in 2014. He acknowledges that he assumes the presidency in a year of many challenges not only for Zamorano but also for all academic institutions across the world. “It’s a year in which the institutions have had to change their way of educating, evolving from a platform of face-to-face education to a virtual one. Institutions that have succeeded, like Zamorano, have often had to do so in a very short period of weeks or months. We are still not clear when everything will return to normal, but we know that the new normal will not be the same as before,” he said.
In the short term, Peterson proposes Zamorano incorporate a more hybrid learning methodology, combining in-person learning to the extent possible, with online communication. Additionally, he seeks to continue strengthening existing relationships with university allies and developing new relationships with other leading institutions in the region. “Zamorano has strengths that set it apart from other institutions, such as its extensive and beautiful campus and agricultural enterprises that allow for “Learning by Doing,” its reputation for excellence, particularly in Latin America, and its outstanding faculty and loyal graduates. Zamorano must continue to strive to use these strengths to be the benchmark in the region,” he said.
Peterson sees one of Zamorano’s key objectives to be equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to address challenges and seek solutions to the problems facing today’s agricultural sector. Youth today, from his perspective, are much more in tune with the intersection of agricultural and environmental issues than youth of previous generations. Young people “must incorporate agricultural solutions that allow them to continue feeding the world, while implementing the best practices for conserving our natural resources. It is our responsibility as educators to provide them with the scientific knowledge necessary to fulfill this mission, but at the same time instilling in them the necessary wisdom to practice agriculture in a responsible way towards the environment and their communities,” he added.
About Erik Peterson
Like all members of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Peterson is a strong believer in Zamorano and in the opportunity it offers to young Latin Americans. He grew up on a farm in Boquete (Panama), where his family is in the coffee and dairy business. Since childhood he was always interested in the agricultural sector and in his formative years, he worked during his school holidays on the farm.
Peterson completed his university studies in the United States, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Economics at UC Berkeley and his MBA and MA at the Wharton School, and the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management, he focused his work on Latin America, first with Bank of America, and then managing Aureos Capital’s private equity funds in Latin America.
After 10 years at Aureos and following its sale in 2013, he devoted himself to spending more time with his family, re-immersing himself in the family’s coffee and dairy businesses, investing and advising across different sectors, and joining various boards of directors, including Zamorano’s. He has been linked to Zamorano for decades in his role on the Board of the Patricia Price Peterson Foundation, which has supported the education of almost a hundred Panamanian students over the last two decades. His father, Price Peterson, served on the Zamorano Board of Trustees for more than a decade.
Zamorano appreciates Mr. Peterson’s generous contributions, commitment, and dedication to the mission of our university.