Monday, November 29, 2004

Bush Taps Gutierrez for Commerce

Bush has made another cabinet choice, and it is another minority with a very interesting background. Kellogg CEO Carlos Gutierrez, who will become Commerce Secretary, succeeding Don Evans, was born in Cuba. His family fled the country when he was only six years old, and he began his career with Kellogg's in Mexico City.

One person commented that regardless of Condoleeza Rice's background, she supports an untenable war and therefore she should not be supported. I agree that the war in Iraq (but not in Afghanistan, which I wish had happened as soon as the Taliban showed up) is untenable and unwinnable and I completely understand not supporting Rice as a result. (and I'm so happy anyone is willing to comment!) Still, I have to say that I really appreciate Bush's picks for these top positions. If he puts a gay person in a cabinet role, then we'll really be getting somewhere, but that seems unlikely considering the administration's ridiculous position on gay marriage.

Following is the Wall Street Journal's early posting on Gutierrez. Also, watch this space because postings and pics from our trip to Kona, Hawaii are coming soon ...

Bush Taps Kellogg CEO
As Commerce Secretary

November 29, 2004 11:26 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Monday nominated Cuban native Carlos Gutierrez, who has been chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., to head the Commerce Department.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Gutierrez would succeed Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a Texas confidant of Mr. Bush's, who announced his resignation shortly after the Nov. 2 election.

The president announced his selection at the White House, calling Mr. Gutierrez "a visionary executive" and "one of America's most respected business leaders."

"We never imagined that this country would give me this great opportunity," Mr. Gutierrez told Bush. "I believe passionately in your leadership and the direction you've set."

Mr. Gutierrez was born in Cuba and his family fled the country in 1960 when he was 6 years old.

He is known as a charismatic and approachable executive, widely admired in business circles for reviving a flagging company.

Mr. Gutierrez joined Kellogg in 1975, beginning his career in Mexico City as a sales and marketing trainee for the Battle Creek, Mich., cereal giant.

Mr. Gutierrez subsequently held a number of jobs at headquarters and ran Kellogg's Canadian and Asian Pacific operations before being named president and then chairman and CEO.

He took over four years ago when Kellogg's cereal sales were sagging and soon acquired Keebler Foods to diversify and boost profits. He also put together an international top management team, which includes an Indonesian, an Italian and two Australians, as well as Americans.

Mr. Gutierrez is the first new member of Mr. Bush's economics team for his second term. Mr. Bush's chief economics adviser, Stephen Friedman, announced last week that he is leaving. Other changes also are anticipated.

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