Emílio Rui Vilar

President (2002 – 2012)


Emílio Rui Vilar

Oporto, 17 May 1939

A director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation since 1996, he served as President of the Board of Directors between 2002 and 2012. The presidency of Emílio Rui da Veiga Peixoto Vilar was marked by commemorations of the Foundation’s 50th anniversary in 2006 and the definition of the major strategic axes:

1. Valuing persons and support for social inclusion;
2. Empowerment of civil society organisations;
3. Boosting knowledge, its diffusion and accessibility;
4. Establishing centres of rationality and excellence.

Within this framework, there was the launch of new areas of intervention through what were termed the Gulbenkian Programs – Artistic Creation and Creativity (2003), State of the World (2005), Environment (2008) and the Next Future (2009) – and the educational platform “Discover” (2008). In 2005, there was the acquisition of the remainder of the garden of the Santa Gertrudes Parks that in the future is to ensure the unity of the Park area and provide for new means of access and new exhibition spaces for the Centre of Modern Art; as well as launching the renovation of the Grand Auditorium, within the scope of preserving the quality of the Headquarters buildings and the Gardens, classified as a National Monument in 2011. Furthermore, the international dimension of the Foundation was one of the important and affirmative facets with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation receiving due recognition with its nomination to the presidency of the European Foundation Center for the 2008-2011 mandate.

President of the Partex Oil and Gas (Holdings) Corporation between 2002 and 2012, Emílio Rui Vilar also served as the President of the European Foundation Centre (2008–2011) and the Portuguese Foundation Centre (2006–2012).

Graduating in Law from the University of Coimbra and an Honoris Causa Doctor from the University of Lisbon, he has been a Non-executive Director of the Gulbenkian Foundation since May 2012.

He is currently non-executive president of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank, president of the Board of Founders of the Serralves Foundation and member of the Management Board of Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

In 1966, he joined the state administration where he worked until 1969 – the year when he took up a managerial position at Banco Português do Atlântico and remaining until 1973. At the beginning of the 1970s, he was part of the group that would launch the SEDES association, of which he was the first president. His political career began in 1974: he was State Secretary for International Trade and Tourism in the First Provisional Government (1974), Minister of the Economy (1974/75) and MP in the Second and Third Provisional Governments (1976), Minister of Transport and Communications (1976–1978) in the first Constitutional Government General Director of the Commission of the European Communities in Brussels (1986–1989).

As a manager, he was Vice-Governor of the Bank of Portugal (1975–1984), President of the Management Board of Banco Espírito Santo e Comercial de Lisboa (1985/86), of the Board of Directors of Caixa Geral de Depósitos (1989–1995), presided over the European Savings Bank Group (1991–1994) and the Board of Directors of Galp Energia (2001/2002). He was President of the Audit Board of the Bank of Portugal (1996–2014), of REN (2014–2015) and the General Council of the University of Coimbra (2013–2017).

Emílio Rui Vilar also chaired the Audit Commission of the National Theatre of São Carlos (1980–1986) and was General-Commissioner for Europália between 1989 and 1992. Between 1989 and 1991, he was Vice-President of the Serralves Foundation. He launched Culturgest in 1993 and, in 1999, was Director of Porto 2001, SA.

He has been honoured with the Commendation of Industrial Merit (1985), the Grand Cross of Prince Henry of Portugal (1992) and the Grand Cross of the Order of Christ (1996).

Updated on 14 february 2020

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