This week finds Peter Carlisle in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As VP of Global Sales for Entrust’s data protection solutions, Peter racks up the miles while navigating a host of divergent cultures and gaining insight about global customer challenges..
Entrust: Peter, where in the world are you?
PC: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Entrust: What do you enjoy the most about visiting Buenos Aires?
PC: Buenos Aires is great city. In many ways it has a European vibe; Spanish is the local language, and the architecture, coffee bars, bakeries and steakhouses would fit in in Madrid or Paris. Yet a look at the map and the road signs reminds you that you are in a very different part of the world. Buenos Aires is further south than Cape Town, Sydney or Auckland and is a gateway to the wide open spaces of Patagonia and beyond that to the Antarctic. Indeed, Ushuaia in Argentina is the southernmost city in the world and is less than 700 miles from Antarctica. There are many things to see and do in the city – a wander around the Recoleta cemetery with its thousands of grand mausoleums is fascinating. I like to explore the Puerto Madero district which is a beautifully renovated dockside area with many restaurants, historic ships and beautiful bridges. Nearby is the impressive Reserva Ecologica where you can stroll amongst the trees and wildlife by the bank of the vast Rio Plata. Then there are the many markets and plazas of the city which seems to have a surprise around every corner.
Entrust: What are some localized challenges customers are facing?
PC: The Argentine economy has been in a difficult place in recent years – either in recession or showing very small growth. There will be elections later this year and, at the moment, it remains difficult to pick a clear favourite as to who will form the next government. Natural resources are rich in Argentina with substantial deposits of lithium and natural gas, for example. Key to maximizing on this potential will be attracting the right level of foreign investment and expertise. In the past, some successful overseas businesses have been subjected to enforced nationalization which has made other investors cautious. Farming remains a strong sector with healthy export markets, but high interest rates and a recent run on the Argentine Peso are taking their toll. As a result, tighter currency controls may be on the way this year.
Entrust: Can you tell us a little more about some of the regional compliance regulations affecting customers?
PC: The Argentine government is in the midst of introducing new data protection regulations this year. The new rules are heavily influenced by the GDPR from the EU. This, no doubt, is due to the fact that many European banks and financial Institutions do business in Argentina so are already familiar with this approach. It’s currently known as Bill No. MEN-2018-147-APN-PTE and will replace data privacy regulations brought in during 2000.
Entrust: What type of advice have you given local customers?
PC: There are many European businesses with a presence in Argentina, especially in financial services. Entrust has good relationships established with the majority of these, which enables us to speak confidently about the impact of planned regulatory changes. We are building up our team in the LATAM region with a number of key new hires this year which will enable us to deepen our engagement with our customers in the region. We also have a strong network of local partners who we are supporting with new initiatives and programs this year as part of our regional growth plans. Putting all of that together makes Entrust a strong and reliable partner for Argentine businesses as they develop their data protection strategies.
Entrust: When visiting Buenos Aires, is there a specific food or beverage you always seek out?
PC: Top of the list is the classic steak and Malbec combination. It’s easy to find a truly delicious piece of beef in Buenos Aires and there are amazing wines to accompany it. Malbec from Mendoza is wonderful! There are other delicious meat treats too such as Morcilla (blood sausage) or mollejas (grilled sweetbreads with a squeeze of lemon). Cold cuts and cheeses are excellent too. Empanadas are everywhere. These are wonderful little pies often filled with spicy beef or with ham and cheese. They can be picked up from a specialist bakery for a few pennies and make a great snack or quick lunch. On a sweeter note there is dulce de leche which is caramel-like and can be spread on or mixed into many things. Alfajores are cookies with dulce de leche sandwiched in the middle (and sometimes dipped in chocolate) which are to be found on virtually every corner
Entrust: If you wrote about song about Buenos Aires for your blues band, what would you call it?
I found the scale of the Rio Plata (River Plate) somewhat awe-inspiring. After all – it’s so wide you can’t see across it! There’s definitely something there about jumping onto a boat & heading into the unknown. So perhaps: “Sailing Away to Who Knows Where” could work.
If you’d like to learn even more about Peter, please visit his LinkedIn page.