At the age of three his family moved to Talca, Chile, where they started Casa Saieh, a family Business that offered from electrical appliances to clothing. In this city, he started his education, finishing high school at Liceo Abate Molina. At 17 years old he moved to Santiago to pursue a degree in commercial engineering at Universidad de Chile, from which he graduated in 1972. In 1973 he started a postgraduate degree in Economics at the same university. Later, he attended The University of Chicago, where he pursued a master´s degree in arts (1976) and a PhD in economics.
In the 1980s Álvaro Saieh started his Business activity, acquiring -along with other Investors of Arabic roots, including Carlos Abuhomor- the Banco Osorno y la Unión. During the 1990s he also acquired AFP Provida, currently one of the leading pension fund managers in Chile; then, during the same decade, he sold both companies to international groups.
These first operations were followed by the acquisition, in 1995, of the Banco Concepción, a bank that presented a negative equity and an important subordinated debt to the State. In less than 10 years Saieh would transform it into Chile's fourth largest private bank, now known as Corpbanca.
Founded in 2002, Fundación CorpArtes objective is to promote the arts and improve the access to it through transformative cultural experiences. In the last years, it has managed initiatives in the fields of literature, visual arts, theater, music, and film, including the organization of the International Film Festival of Santiago (SANFIC). In 2014 was inaugurated the Centro de las Artes 660, a cultural space that has a multipurpose theater room, a sculpture garden and three visual arts exhibit halls.
In 2007 the Saieh family purchased Unimarc supermarkets, entering the Retail Business. This marked the beginning of SMU, the third supermarket chain in Chile and the one with the largest national coverage. SMU operates with wholesale chains (Alvi and Mayorista 10), convenience stores (Ok Market), supermarkets (Unimarc), and a hardware chain (Construmart). SMU is also present in Peru, through Mayorsa supermarkets.
Fundación Descúbreme was created in 2010.Its mission is to promote the integral inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities. Born from the initiative of the Sociedad Educacional Colegio El Golf S.A. and Tacal, Mírame y Amigos por Siempre foundations, Fundación Descúbreme conducts awareness campaigns, job inclusion, and social projects.
This institution gradually grew up, entering the global market with operations in several countries of Latin America, such as Peru, Argentina and Colombia, and opening offices in Madrid and New York City. Within this process of growth, in 2011 CorpBanca made the largest investment of a Chilean company abroad, acquiring Banco Santander Colombia in an operation close to US $1.2 billion. Later, Saieh acquired Helm Bank, transforming CorpBanca Colombia into the fifth private bank of the country.
CorpGroup also owns 50% of stake in a partnership with the Mexican group City Express. Since 2016 this company owns its first hotel in Chile, the City Express Santiago Airport.
During 2017 two major projects are also expected to materialize: Mall Vivo Coquimbo and Mall Vivo Imperio, in addition to the construction of Mall Vivo Santiago.
Some of the holding’s companies that provide backoffice services to other enterprices of the group are: Aeronest SA, Corp Imagen y Diseño SA, Corp Research SA, CorpGroup Holding Ltda., Hotel Corporation of Chile SA, Inmobiliaria Edificio CorpGroup SA, CorpGroup Interhold SPA, Inversiones HSG SA and Punto H S.A.