Büchi was born to a father of Swiss descent in Iquique. After receiving a diploma in mining at the University of Chile he went to the U.S. and earned an MBA from Columbia University in 1975. Despite this fact he is often mentioned together with the Chicago Boys who studied economics at the University of Chicago, because he represents similar neoliberal market positions. In 1975 Hernán Büchi began as a consultant of the Secretary of Economics, Pablo Baraona, as a Chair of the Board of Directors of the state owned sugar refiner Industria Azucarera Nacional as well as the state-owned telephone company Compañía de Teléfonos (since 1978).In 1979 he became Vice-Secretary of Economics (1979-1980) for the ministry of treasury. He worked with the Minister for Labor and Social Security José Piñera, who started the private pension system in Chile. In 1981 he was appointed Vice-Secretary of Health (1980-1983) where he prepared the privatization of health insurance. During the 1983 / 1984 recession in Chile he became Minister of Planning (1983-1984)(ODEPLAN) and Superintendent of Banks and Financial Institutions (1984-1985). He was Minister of Finance(the Treasury) between 1985 and 1989 and returned to the principles of monetarism.After Pinochet stepped down 1990, Büchi founded the "Liberty and Development Institute" (Libertad y Desarrollo), where he currently is the Chairman of the "International Economy Center Council" and a Consultant. It has been funded by The Tinker Foundation, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Center for International Private Enterprise, and the conservative German Hanns Seidel Foundation amongst others, per its website. Since 1990 he has been an adviser in several government bodies in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. He has been a chairman and/or member of the board of several public companies. During the 1989 Chilean presidential election Büchi stood for the centre-right Democracy and Progress PartyUnión Demócrata Independiente but was also supported by Renovación Nacional and Democracia Radical. Büchi's campaign hired a former public relations adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Timothy Bell.Büchi came in second with 2,051,975 votes (29.40%) after Patricio Aylwin with 55,2 %. However he "received more support from women than men in 59 of the 60 electoral districts, the exception being in southernmost district of Magallanes, where his support was about equal between the sexes".Since 1994 Büchi has been the Chair of the Board of Directors the Chilean food company Lucchetti, which was owned by the late Andrónico Luksic and his Luksic group, Chile's first multinational corporation, where Büchi holds further positions. Lucchetti was acquired by Tresmontes, and Tresmontes Lucchetti, SA was bought by the Columbian Grupo Nutresa SA in a deal to close October 2013. Büchi has also been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Chilean Mining company, an Advisor to the Board of Directors of Banco de Chile since 2008, with an annual compensation of 79,900,000 CLP (2014 USD 143,000), and a Chairman of the Directive Council of Universidad del Desarrollo, and Adviser to the Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo.He has acted as Member of the Board of Directors of the large holding company Quinenco SAand Consorcio Nacional de Seguros and Falabella, SA, which is a large Chilean insurance company. He is a likely member of the Mont Pelerin Society.
El modelo económico chileno es motivo de admiración y estudio en todo el mundo. A la hora de buscar explicaciones y protagonistas, los candidatos son muchos. Pero hay uno que marcó certeramente la diferencia: Hernán Büchi. Él es quien, a través de una obra dinámica y testimonial, nos relata la historia de la transformación económica que Chile vivió en los años ochenta. Büchi fue testigo privilegiado y protagonista de los hechos que cambiaron el destino del país. Condujo con mano certera, y con un manejo incomparable del aparato público, un proceso de recuperación de la economía chilena que no tiene comparación y que marcó el inicio del más prolongado ciclo de crecimiento que hayamos experimentado.Queda aquí plasmada, en esta versión revisada y aumentada de La transformación económica de Chile, la aguda inteligencia del autor, quien ha sabido entender cuáles fueron y cuáles son los desafíos para seguir a la cabeza del desarrollo económico en Latinoamérica