Carlos Gutierrez

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Former CEO of Kellogg
Carlos Gutierrez
  • Youngest CEO in Kellogg’s 100-year history
  • Named one of the most powerful Hispanic-Americans in business by Fortune magazine
  • Shares the top traits all dynamic and innovative leaders have in common—including a desire to embrace risk

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Carlos Gutierrez is the former CEO of Kellogg Company, a former secretary of commerce, and the former vice chairman of Citigroup’s Institutional Clients Group. The son of Cuban immigrants who began his career selling cereal to small grocers in Mexico City, he rose to become the youngest CEO in Kellogg’s 100-year history. He first learned English from bellhops, but commerce has always been a language in which Gutierrez was fluent. Named one of the most powerful Hispanic-Americans in business by Fortune magazine, he was an ardent voice for business in the government. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he addresses global business, immigration reform, how politics and policy affect business, and our current political environment.

Spanning The Globe, One Cereal Box At A Time. Gutierrez joined Kellogg in 1975, spending nearly 30 years with the company. He rose through the ranks, and his climb included years as executive vice president of Kelloggs’ Asia-Pacific. Faced with a global stagnation in cereal sales as CEO, he turned the company around by focusing on his “Volume to Value” strategy, allocating resources to higher-margin products. Having spent half his career in international markets, he also leveraged his Asia expertise to extend Kellogg’s reach and profitability. Fortune magazine dubbed Gutierrez “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. He even makes golf shirts look debonair.”

The Voice Of Business In Government. As secretary of commerce, Gutierrez was a core member of President Bush’s economic team. Of Gutierrez, President Bush said, “He understands the world of business, from the first rung on the ladder to the very top. He knows exactly what it takes to help American businesses grow and to create jobs.” During his tenure, Gutierrez made it a top priority to open global markets for U.S. companies, and he played a key role in the passage of CAFTA-DR, a landmark trade agreement that expanded opportunities for U.S. exports throughout Latin America.

Financial Know-How. With his vast corporate success and extensive international perspective, Gutierrez has a unique viewpoint on global business and the economy. After his time as Secretary of Commerce, he joined Citigroup as the vice chairman of the Institutional Clients Group and a member of its Senior Strategic Advisory Group. He was also an advisor to Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, a member of the Debt Reduction Task Force at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the founder and chairman of Global Political Strategies (GPS), a strategic consulting service.

Cuban Advocacy. Guttierez currently serves as the first-ever elected chair of the US-Cuba Business Council, an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce. Born in Havana, he has been a vocal supporter of open, de-regulated relations between the US and Cuba and served as co-chair for the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. He has also worked extensively on immigration issues, leaving Citigroup to lead the creation of the SuperPAC Republicans for Immigration Reform.

He is currently co-chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group and sits on the board of Time Warner Inc.

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Carlos Gutierrez on Business, the Economy, and Regulation

Carlos Gutierrez: Leadership Lessons | LAI

Carlos Gutierrez: Focusing on Fundamentals

Leadership From Top To Bottom. In 25 years, beginning as a salesman who sold cereal to mom-and-pop stores in Mexico City, Gutierrez rose through the ranks to become CEO and chairman of the board at Kellogg Company. Throughout his career, he has witnessed many different styles of leadership and he has incorporated the best of these traits into his own life. With an up-close view of both corporate leaders and heads of state and from his own experience ascending the leadership ladder, he outlines the varied approaches and surprising tactics that all great leaders have in common. He discusses why having the will to lead and the desire to embrace risks both creates dynamic leaders and fosters environments where innovation can thrive.

An Optimistic Look At The US Economy. With dual perspectives from the highest levels of government and business, Carlos Gutierrez looks at our current economic situation and why organizations should be optimistic about doing business in America. From how China does not provide a great operating environment and its growth is slowing to how the shale energy revolution will spur jobs and shift the balance of power in terms of world exports, he discusses what businesses can expect in the next five to 10 years and how they can capitalize on opportunities. He also looks at the policies and reforms we need to enact in order to secure the strength of our economic situation, including immigration, banking, regulations, and trade, and suggests action for business leaders.

Politics & The Future Of The Republican Party. Gutierrez is a respected member and thought leader in the Republican Party. In presentations, he addresses the current state of politics and discusses the future of the GOP. He analyzes the ‘facts on the ground’ and shares his thoughts on where he would like the Party to go, covering topics like immigration, social issues, and fiscal policy.

Driving America’s Business Agenda. In the current economic environment and with an administration with a definite social and political agenda, business leaders have to become even more involved to ensure that the American economy stays strong. With his dual perspectives from the highest levels of government and business, Gutierrez explains why business leaders cannot assume that the job of advocating for American business will be done someone else. He dissects the current topics dominating the business pages, from tax increases and trade to labor laws and environmental regulations.

Maintaining America’s Competitive Advantage. America is unique in the world for its open business environment—an environment of innovation, entrepreneurship, and free trade. In challenging economic times, America must continue to foster these core principles. Gutierrez discusses America’s undeniable advantages—from intellectual property rights, to the world’s best university system, to our history of embracing immigration—and he outlines the specific policies that will ensure that these advantages continue into the future.

Diversity: A Key Source Of Economic Energy. As the son of Cuban immigrants and having worked all over the world, Gutierrez understands the vitality and surge of energy that immigrants bring to the American business community. Innovation and growth have always been the keys to America’s competitive advantage, and throughout our history, immigration has been a vital source of both. Gutierrez presents the big picture view of immigration reform and clarifies the debate, explaining the true nature of the buzzword “amnesty” and showing how a vibrant immigrant policy and population can drive American business. He also tackles the issues minorities face in leadership positions.

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