NoBy Baselinemag | Posted 2007-10-01 Print
A year into Martin Ugarteche's tenure as the top IT executive with Southern Copper, the mining firm's core product hit 15-year price lows.
Copper has rebounded since then, pushing the company, which operates primarily in Peru and Mexico, to its highest-ever profits in 2006. That helped catapult the firm to the top of this year's Baseline 500, with an information productivity score of 1,290.3%.
Before joining Southern Copper in 1992, Ugarteche specialized in missile guidance systems with the Peruvian navy. He went on to manage ports for Southern Copper, then headed maintenance at one of its mines, until becoming IT manager, the company's equivalent to a chief information officer, in 2001.
Those operational experiences helped craft Ugarteche's vision for IT leadership. "We are looking for new technology and trying to innovate, and what we have in mind always is the operations need," he says. "Every expense here is very well justified with a benefit that is tangible for operations."
Ugarteche credits several IT projects— especially new deployments of business intelligence software, IP telephony and e-commerce—with boosting the firm's bottom line. They helped streamline operations across the company's 15 mining sites, and will help the firm integrate two new sites.
With those new opportunities and copper's upswing expected to continue, look for Southern Copper to continue increasing its profits—and making more appearances in the Baseline 500.
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