José de Azeredo Perdigão
President (1956 – 1993)
Viseu, 19 September 1896 – Lisbon, 10 September 1993
The personal lawyer of Calouste Gulbenkian, employee no. 1 and lifetime president of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation – a position he held from 1956 to 1993 – José Henrique de Azeredo Perdigão played a leading role in establishing the foundation and subsequently in setting up the Modern Art Centre that he conceived and brought about.
In his position as president, he supervised the Museum, the Music, Fine Arts, Science, Projects and Works, Overseas, Presidency and General Library services as well as the departments of Finance, Investment, Central Accounting, Technical Services, Exhibitions and Museography, Central Services, Human Resources, the José de Azeredo Perdigão Modern Art Centre and ACARTE – the Animation, Artistic Creation and Education through Art Service.
Graduated in Law from the University of Lisbon Faculty of Law and with a post-graduate qualification in Juridical Science from the University of Coimbra, he received an Honoris Causa Doctorate in Law from the universities of Coimbra, Porto, Nova of Lisbon, of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; in Arts from the Royal College of Arts of London; in Human Sciences from the Southeastern University (USA); in Humanities from the University of Sophia (Japan); and in Architecture from the Técnico University of Lisbon. He was also honoured with the medal of the First Honorary Lawyer from the Portuguese Bar Association.
Trustee, among other companies and firms, of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino, he was also president of the General Assembly of the Bank of Portugal, of Banco Fonsecas, Santos e Viana and of Sacor, a merit member of the National Academy of Fine Arts and the Portuguese Academy of History and governor of the Fondation Européenne de la Culture.
Chancellor of the Orders of Civil Merit, he has been attributed numerous national and international awards include the Portuguese Grand-Crosses of the Order of the Torre e Espada, of the Order of Christ, of the Order of Prince Henry and of the Order of Merit. He was also a member of the Council of State.
He has given lectures, conferences and speeches on juridical matters as well as broader issues of general culture and published a series of works.