Cordeiro was born in Caracas, Venezuela, from Spanish parents who emigrated from Madrid during the Franco dictatorship.
Cordeiro obtained Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. He later studied international economics and comparative politics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, USA, and obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) in Fontainebleau, France, majoring in finance and globalization. He started his doctoral degree at MIT, continued these studies in Tokyo, Japan, and in due course received his PhD at Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) in Caracas, Venezuela.
After graduating, Cordeiro worked as a petroleum exploration engineer for Schlumberger. He next served as an adviser for many major oil companies, including BP, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, PDVSA, Pemex, Petrobras, Shell, and Total. Later, in Paris, he consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton as a specialist in strategy, restructuring, and finance.
Cordeiro has been an advocate of sound monetary policy and dollarization in Eastern Europe and Latin America. His 1999 book La Segunda Muerte de Sucre provided academic backing for the change from the sucre to the dollar as the currency in Ecuador, where he is regarded as one of the thought leaders of this transformation.
Cordeiro is an international fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), executive director of the Ibero-American Futurists Network, Venezuela Node Chair of The Millennium Project, vice chair of Humanity Plus, and former director of the Club of Rome (Venezuela Chapter), the World Transhumanist Association, and the Extropy Institute. He has also been invited faculty at institutions such as the Institute of Developing Economies IDE – JETRO in Tokyo, Japan, the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, Singularity University at NASA Ames in Silicon Valley, California, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and the Higher School of Economics in Russia.
Cordeiro has written a fortnightly opinion column in El Universal, the largest Venezuelan general newspaper, since 1996.
In 2008, Cordeiro conducted the last public interview with science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, in Clarke's home in Sri Lanka.
He is a lifetime member of the Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, and Beta Gamma Sigma honor societies.
In the 2019 European Parliament election in Spain, Cordeiro ran for MEP as the candidate for the Movimiento Independiente Euro Latino, promoting the representation of Latin Americans in Spain and Europe and promoting science and research to build better societies.