He was born in Madrid in 1931. He has a degree in Industrial Organisation, and a doctorate in Civil Engineering.
From December 1975 to July 1976, he was the Minister of Economy and Finance. In 1976, he was Deputy Prime Minister of Spain for about six months, as a member of the Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista party, under Prime Minister Carlos Arias Navarro.
Obrascón Huarte Lain fell into financial difficulties in the late 1980s, however, and was bought from bankruptcy for one penny in 1987 by Villar Mir, who remains the company's chairman today. Villar Mir turned around the firm's fortunes, and it listed on the Bolsa de Madrid in 1991.
He has been a non-executive Director of Santander since 2013.