Fernando Ulrich

Before becoming President of BPI (Portuguese Investment Bank), Ulrich was part of the founding team of Expresso. Between 1973 and 1974 he was responsible for the Financial Markets section, writing texts under the pen name of Vicente Marques

Ulrich's inheritance

Fernando Maria Costa Duarte Ulrich, born in Lisbon, on 26th of April 1952. Son of João Jorge Maria de Melo Ulrich, who was the director of Tabaqueira, and Maria Isabel Buzaglo Costa Duarte.

The Ulrich, come from a family form the North of Hamburg, linked to bank commerce and architecture, who established themselves in Portugal during the mid-18th century.

After the 1755 earthquake the family cooperated actively in the reconstruction of Lisbon, by the request of Marquês do Pombal, continuing their business in Finance.



His connection to banking comes from his family. His maternal grandfather, Mário de Sousa Costa Duarte was associated to the areas of brokerage and insurances, his paternal grandfather, Fernando Enes Ulrich, was the administrator of Banco de Portugal and his great-grandfather was the vice-governor of Companhia do Crédito Predial.



He studied at Instituto Superior de Economia, of Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, from 1969 to 1974. Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, António Peres Metelo and Félix Ribeiro were among his classmates but he didn’t finish his degree in business management.


A passagem pelo Expresso

When he was still a student, he joined the founding newsroom of Expresso, launched by Francisco Pinto Balsemão, which included ten journalists. On the first Saturday of 1973, the public opinion found in the newsstands a weekly newspaper that was different from all of the others.



The model of “English quality Sunday newspapers” was followed. Para isso, Augusto de Carvalho (chefe de redação) faz um estágio no Reino Unido, acompanhado do diretor de publicidade e de Fernando Ulrich. In order to achieve that, Augusto de Carvalho (editor-in-chief) goes to the United Kingdom for an apprenticeship, accompanied by the Advertising director and by Fernando Ulrich.

The group works in London publications such as The Sunday Times and The Observer.

Watchful, Direcção-Geral de Segurança (DGS, PIDE’s predecessor) intercepts and copies the correspondence exchanged between Balsemão and his English counterparts, handing it to Marcello Caetano. 



His analyses of the stock market had great density, (already) reflecting a notable command of economic matters, earning him fame and glory.

In the early 70s there was a stock market fever and Fernando Ulrich created a basket trade along with his friends to invest in the stock market. Barely over 20, he is the great promoter of this “amateur investment fund”, but the “El Dorado” was over the day Fernando Ulrich became a journalist, respecting the deontological code of the profession.

In January 1980, when Balsemão becomes deputy prime minister in Sá Carneiro’s government, he appoints Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa as the interim director of Expresso. He doesn’t stop looking out for the newspaper, inviting Fernando Ulrich for the administration. “In 1980/1981 I went through a horrible fright: Dr. Balsemão wanted me to become the director of the newspaper (…) I was completely torn but I ended up not accepting”.


Fernando Ulrich, o banqueiro

In 1983, through an invitation from Artur Santos Silva, he enters Sociedade Portuguesa de Investimento (SPI) which would originate Banco Português de Investimento (BPI).

Previously, he had been a technician at the Secretariat for Economic Cooperation and, later, an advisor of the Portuguese ambassador in OECD, in Paris.

He also held the position of chief of the cabinet of the ministers of Finance and Planning when Balsemão, Morais Leitão and João Salgueiro were in the government.I n 1980 he worked at the  international department of Banco Pinto & Sotto Maior.



April 2004, Fernando Ulrich becomes the president of BPI and publicly identified with PSD, Ulrich is one of the founders of the initiative Compromisso Portugal.


In a Expresso interview Ulrich said: " I like to participate in social life" and for that reason "onde day I would like to be a deputy". 



Like Fernando Ulrich, his wife Diana Ulrich made a career in Journalism (newspaper A Capital) until she joined PSD, where she became responsible for the Communication office, from 1979 on. She joined Aníbal Cavaco Silva’s Presidency of the Republic support office.