LAC Main Seminar Series: UK Business in Latin America - Round Table, jointly organised with Canning House

Convener(s): Eduardo Posada-Carbo

Speaker(s): Antonio Celia, former CEO Promigás, Colombia; Beatriz Araujo, Baker McKenzie; and Thomas Mills, Lancaster University

Chaired by Cristina Cortes, Canning House




Antonio Celia former CEO of Promigas, one of the oldest private companies in the natural gas industry of Latin America, since 1992, is currently a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics.   Mr. Celia is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Grupo Nutresa and Naturgas – Natural Gas Association–an entity that represents the natural gas industry in Colombia; President of the Private Competitiveness Council; and member of the board of Directors of Colombian think-tank Fedesarrollo. He is founding partner and member of the Board of Directors of Empresarios para la Educación, an association of businessmen in support of education, where he played an important role as a Chairman during seven years. He also serves as a Chairman of the Board of the Pies Descalzos Foundation, sponsored by Shakira, the well-known Colombian singer and composer; member of the Board of Directors of the Ideas for Peace Foundation, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Universidad del Norte.  Mr. Celia has been a promoter of several cultural initiatives and serves as  Chairman of Fundación la Cueva, which honours the memory of the “Group of Barranquilla” once led by the Noble laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez.  For his performance as a business and social leader, he has received several awards and recognitions from several Colombian newspapers and organizations, including Portafolio (the leading business daily), Semana (the country’s leading weekly) and the Liderazgo y Democracia Foundation.  Earlier this year he was awarded the Cruz de Boyacá, the highest distinction conferred by the government of Colombia.  Mr. Celia completed a BSc in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts and executive education courses from the Universidad de los Andes, MIT, the Wharton School of Business, and LSE.


Beatriz Araujo is a corporate partner in Baker McKenzie’s London office, Beatriz has been an active member of the Canning House Board since June 2014 and a valued supporter of Canning House for many years before then. She takes over from Dr Peter Collecott CMG, who has been Chairman since April 2016 and stepped down at the end of 2017 after six years of distinguished service as a Trustee.  Beatriz is a member of the Baker McKenzie’s Corporate Practice Group, as well as its Financial Institutions, Industrials, EMI and Healthcare groups. Since serving on the Firm’s Global Executive Committee (2009-2013), Beatriz is spearheading Baker McKenzie’s Corporate Governance Group. Beatriz’ practice focuses on advising boards and multinational groups on company law, in particular director duties, and corporate governance matters and best practice approaches to embed governance and values in organisations with a view to companies building trust with all stakeholders and third parties, including regulators. She also advises clients in Spain, Portugal and Latin America investing into the UK and Europe.


Thomas Mills is a lecturer in the Department of History at Lancaster University. His research focuses primarily on British and American foreign policy towards Latin America during the twentieth century. His first book, Post-war Planning on the Periphery, explored Anglo-American relations in South America during the Second World War in the broader context of the post-war economic diplomacy undertaken by the wartime allies. He has previously published articles in Diplomacy and Statecraft and the Journal of Transatlantic Studies. His current research includes a collaborative project exploring Anglo-American relations in Latin America throughout the twentieth century, and a project exploring Britain's contemporary role in Latin America. He is a regular commentator on historical and contemporary international affairs, appearing on media outlets including Sky News, BBC Radio Five Live, and France 24. He is also Vice-Chair of the Transatlantic Studies Association.


Cristina Cortes is an Oxford and LSE politics and economics graduate.  Having worked in government, banking and energy across a variety of commercial, business development and government relations roles in London, Houston, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, in 2015 she joined Canning House, the UK’s leading forum for Latin America and Iberia. She took over as CEO earlier this year.