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Finalist of the EPIC Awards 2018

The Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice-President of Avianca Holdings has accepted the challenge of converting one of Latin America’s largest airlines into one of the most important in the world.

CFO and Senior VP Finance of Avianca

“Dedicated work is really the secret of success.”


Roberto Held was always linked to the financial world in one way or another. His professional career began in banking and the stock market, where he was in close contact with the fiduciary field and capital markets. After directing a brokerage house, he opted for focusing on international banking, in the transactional and credit sector. He spent several years in finance, until he got the chance to join Juan Valdez Café as Financial Director. “It’s one of the world’s most emblematic coffee firms,” he says. “Now I work in the strategy and finances of Avianca Holdings, one of the leading airlines in Latin America.”

Held says he is satisfied with his professional career, because he has been able to work with big companies and in firmly established industrial sectors.

“I think I’m privileged to be working and constantly learning in a global industry that’s unstoppable. Every day I enjoy what I do even more, with the aim of contributing to constant change and growth, not only personal, but with my team and the audiences and clients we interact with,” he adds.

This Chief Financial Officer says his master’s course at IE was a very positive turning point in his career. “It allowed me to acquire new skills and points of view, as well as the tools to bring the organization and the teams to the next level,” he says from Colombia, when he’s not on a plane visiting the operations of one of the Holdings in Latin America.

With regard to the future, he hopes to continue consolidating his career and, at the same time, have the chance to work on some personal entrepreneurial initiatives. “In addition, I’ve always like education, so as to be able to share knowledge. I hope to some day share some of my experiences by being a professor at IE,” says Held.

His current challenge is to work for one of the most important airlines in Latin America and to manage its strategy, with the aim of turning it into one of the world’s most important companies. He recalls that in the last quarter of 2017 Avianca experienced one of its most complex business situations, challenged by the longest commercial pilot strike in the history of aviation, which had to be handled with education and discipline. “Thanks to the teamwork, the strategy we put into effect, the constant communication and the focus on the customer, we have been able to move forward. At the end of the day there were great financial results that consolidated this company as one of the leaders in the region,” says Held. These results may have been some of the key factors in his nomination for the EPIC Awards.

For Held, the mere fact of having been nominated is an honor. “It really demonstrates the potential we have in Colombia and in Latin America for building and leading big companies in a highly competitive sector, one that, like IE, favors the global connection of people and ideas,” he adds.

This Chief Financial Officer has great devotion for his profession. “Dedicated work is really the secret of success. That plus constantly challenging the status quo by always working together with the team, empowering every single member of the organization,” he says. In the future he hopes to continue his growth, so as to meet new challenges, even when this leads him to explore unknown industries or sectors. He also says that, above all, he values sincere communication, teamwork and leadership through collective knowledge. “They are key factors in getting results,” he concludes.


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