Carlos Gutierrez

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Carlos Gutierrez
Carlos Gutierrez official portrait.jpg
35th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
February 7, 2005 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Donald Evans
Succeeded by Gary Locke
Personal details
Born Carlos Miguel Gutiérrez
(1953-11-04) November 4, 1953 (age 65)
Havana, Cuba
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Edilia Gutierrez
Children Carlos
Alma mater Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Querétaro

Carlos Miguel Gutierrez (originally Gutiérrez; born November 4, 1953) is an American former CEO and former U.S. Cabinet Member who is currently a Co-Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic advisory firm.[1]

Previously he was a Vice Chairman of Citigroup's Institutional Clients Group[2] and served as the 35th U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 2005 to 2009. Gutierrez is a former Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Kellogg Company.[3]

Early life and career

Gutierrez was born in Havana, Cuba, the son of a pineapple plantation owner. Gutierrez is of Spanish and French descent. As a successful businessman, his father was deemed an enemy of the state by Fidel Castro's regime.[4] Faced with the expropriation of their property following the Cuban Revolution, Gutierrez's family fled for the United States in 1960 when he was six years old. Like many other Cuban American exiles, they settled in Miami. When it became apparent they would not be going home, Gutierrez's father accepted a position with the H. J. Heinz Company in Mexico and later started his own business.[5] Gutierrez learned his first words of English from the bellhop at the hotel where they initially stayed and, some years later, he and his family acquired United States citizenship.[6]

Gutierrez studied business administration at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education campus in Querétaro.

Kellogg Company

Gutierrez joined Kellogg's in Mexico in 1975, at the age of 22, as a sales representative and management trainee. One of his early assignments included driving a delivery-truck route around local stores.

Gutierrez rose through the management ranks, and in January 1990, he was promoted to corporate vice president of product development at the company's headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, and in July of the same year, he became executive vice president of Kellogg USA. In January 1999, he was elected to the company's Board of Directors and by April, he was appointed president and CEO. Faced with a global decline or stagnation in cereal sales, Carlos Gutierrez took the helm at Kellogg and at that time became the only Latino CEO of a Fortune 500 company.[7] Gutierrez was also the youngest CEO in the company’s nearly 100-year history.[6]

Gutierrez's strategy, known as "Volume to Value," was to increase sales by focusing resources on higher-margin products. Higher-margin products targeted specific markets and included products such as Special K, Kashi, and Nutri-Grain bars. Extra income would fund advertising, promotions, and R&D, which would encourage further high-margin sales growth. "Volume is a means to an end--not an end," he would say. "What counts is dollars."[8]

In 2004, Fortune Magazine dubbed Gutierrez as "The Man Who Fixed Kellogg", and attributed his success to "taking the slick salesmanship, financial discipline, and marketing savvy that he learned in his youth and blending it with disarming charisma, steely resolve, and an utter lack of pretension that you wouldn't expect in one so nattily dressed." The magazine also added that, "He even makes golf shirts look debonair."[9]

Secretary of Commerce

On November 29, 2004, Gutierrez was chosen by President George W. Bush to be his next term's Secretary of Commerce, succeeding Donald Evans. On the same day, Kellogg's Board of Directors accepted Gutierrez's resignation as Chairman of the Board and CEO, to be effective upon his confirmation by the Senate and swearing in. The board selected James M. Jenness to succeed Gutierrez as Chairman and CEO. It also elected Kellogg President and Chief Operating Officer A.D. David Mackay to the board. Gutierrez was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on January 24, 2005 and sworn in on February 7, 2005.[10][11]

As Secretary of Commerce, Gutierrez also served as Co-Chair of the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba.[12] Secretary Gutierrez was actively involved in U.S. – Cuba policy alongside Co-Chair Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Gutierrez was also one of the President’s point men working with Congress to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, an issue he sees as one of the greatest domestic social issues of our time. He believes a successful immigration solution must focus first on securing our borders, but must also address immigrants' contribution to our economy and the importance of American unity.[6]

Gutierrez played a key role in the passage of CAFTA-DR, a landmark trade agreement that expanded opportunities for U.S. exports throughout Latin America.[13] Gutierrez was also instrumental in promoting the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and in 2006 Gutierrez called for Congress to “work with us and pass the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Korea and Panama, so we can have fair, two-way trade with our allies and friends.”[14] He also led the first-ever domestic trade mission to the Gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.[15]

On December 6, 2007, Washington editor of Harper's Magazine Ken Silverstein reported that Gutierrez had Adnan Oktar's Atlas of Creation—a book that advocates Islamic creationism and blames Charles Darwin for modern terrorism, including the 9/11 attacks—for display on a stand at the entrance to his US government office. Gutierrez's office did not respond when asked whether the book had been purchased or mailed unsolicited to his office.[16]

Post-Bush administration

Gutierrez was the founder and Chairman of Global Political Strategies (GPS), an international strategic consulting service and a division of APCO Worldwide, a Washington-based global communications firm.[17]

In February 2009, Gutierrez was named a Scholar at the University of Miami’s Institute For Cuban And Cuban American Studies.[18] In April 2009, he joined the University's board of trustees.[19] He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Meridian International Center, [20] as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars[21] and the Bipartisan Debt Reduction Task Force.[15]

On February 21, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gutierrez remained unemployed, along with a significant majority of George W. Bush's 3,000 political appointees who are seeking full-time employment.[22][23] According to the article, 25% to 30% of those officials have found new jobs, a statistic notably lower than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton left the White House. The article notes that "at least half those presidents' senior staffers landed employment within a month after the administration ended." Gutierrez commented that, "This is not a great time for anyone to be job hunting, including numerous former political appointees." He added that he hopes to run a company like Kellogg again because "I have a lot of energy."[24] However, according to a press release from United Technologies Corporation,[22][23] Gutierrez joined the company's board of directors on February 9, several days prior to the publication of the Wall Street Journal article.[22][25]

According to press releases, Gutierrez also serves on the Board of Directors of Occidental Petroleum,[26] GLW Corning,[27] and Intelligent Global Pooling Systems.[28][29] He is also a television news contributor for the business news television channel CNBC.[23] In March 2010, Gutierrez said he would not like to return to a CEO spot at a foodmaker, because as commerce secretary, he had something different to do each day, whereas, "Business is pretty one-dimensional."[30]

He was also a vice chairman of Citigroup in the Institutional Clients Group and member of the Senior Strategic Advisory Group.[31]

Gutierrez served as a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force[32] at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[33]

In 2012 Gutierrez is leading the creation of the SuperPAC Republicans for Immigration Reform,[34] as he believes that "the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn't belong".[35]

In 2013, Gutierrez was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[36]

Today, as a chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group,[37] Gutierrez uses his expertise from both the public and private sector to contribute to the firm’s management and international trade and investment strategies of behalf of clients. His extensive knowledge of Latin American and Asian markets, specifically, and commercial diplomacy is constantly called on in his current role as chair.

Personal life

Gutierrez has a wife, Edilia, one son, Carlos Jr. and two daughters, Erika and Karina.[6]


  1. "About Us Carlos M. Gutierrez". Albright Stonebridge Group. Retrieved June 30, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Donal Griffin (February 22, 2013). "Gutierrez Leaves Citigroup for Republican Immigration Role". Bloomberg Business.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Strong Praise for Carlos Gutierrez
  4. The Man who Fixed Kellogg
  5. Answers.Com
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Official biography at the Department of Commerce
  7. From Exile to Corporate Leadership
  8. The Man Who Fixed Kellogg
  9. Fortune Magazine - The Man Who Fixed Kellogg
  10. Gutierrez Sworn In
  11. Official White House announcement
  12. U.S Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba
  13. GPS Biography
  14. Commerce Department Press Release
  15. 15.0 15.1 Secretary Locke Unveils Official Portrait of Former Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez
  16. New Theory Uncovered in Commerce Secretary Gutierrez’s waiting room: Darwin behind 9/11
  17. Global Political Strategies
  18. The University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies
  19. National Trustee to the University of Miami
  21. Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 United Technologies Corp. Board of Directors Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "busact" defined multiple times with different content
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 CNBC
  24. Jobs Still Elude Some Bush Ex-Officials
  25. Carlos Gutierrez UTC
  26. Occidental Petroleum Corp.
  27. GLW Corning
  28. Gutierrez Joins IGPS Press Release
  29. Reuters IGPS Press Release
  30. Ex-Kellogg CEO not seeking to run another foodmaker
  31. The New York Times (2010). Citigroup Hires Former Bush Commerce Secretary. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  32. "Bipartisan Policy Center - Debt Reduction Task Force". Retrieved 13 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Bipartisan Policy Center - Debt Reduction Task Force members". Retrieved 13 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Republicans Create Super-PAC to Push for Immigration Change". Newsmax. 16 Nov 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Dana Davidsen (2012-11-17). "Romney's Hispanic chairman to create new immigration reform super PAC". CNN Politics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. John Avlon (February 28, 2013). "The Pro-Freedom Republicans Are Coming: 131 Sign Gay-Marriage Brief". The Daily Beast.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Albright Stonebridge Group

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Donald Evans
United States Secretary of Commerce
Succeeded by
Gary Locke