Latinos account for 16.7% of the U.S. population, and by all accounts, they are a growing and influential group. Even so, Latino executives make up just 1% of CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies. And worse, not one of these corporate leaders is a Latina. This doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of talented and qualified Latino leaders in corporate America. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which started September 15th, we highlight five Latinos already in the CEO’s seat, and two Latinas who could step up to take over as a Fortune 500 chief.
1. George Paz, CEO, Express Scripts: In 1998, Paz joined Express Scripts, now the largest pharmacy benefit management organization in the United States, as senior vice president and CFO. He became president in 2003, was named CEO in 2005, and was elected chairman of the board the following year. Paz has led the company through three major mergers and has achieved earnings growth of 30% a year. Formerly, he was a partner of Coopers and Lybrand, LLP (now Price waterhouse Coopers) from December 1995 to December 1997. Paz was born in the United States. His grandfather came from Mexico and settled with his family in Collinsville, MO.
2. Ralph de la Vega, CEO, AT&T Mobility: de la Vega assumed the CEO role for AT&T’s largest growth engine in 2007. The company is now the nation’s second largest wireless carrier. From October 2008 to January 2012, de la Vega also served as President and CEO for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. In addition to the company’s wireless business, he led the company’s local consumer wireline operations. From 2004 to 2006, he served as COO of Cingular Wireless, a joint venture of SBC and BellSouth telecom companies. Before joining Cingular de la Vega served as president of BellSouth Latin America. De la Vega was born in Cuba before immigrating to Miami as a young boy.
3. Carlos Rodriguez, CEO, Automatic Data Processing (ADP): Rodriguez joined ADP in 1999 through the company’s acquisition of Vincam, where Rodriguez shortly served as CFO before becoming President of ADP TotalSource. ADP is one of the largest providers of business outsourcing and human capital management solutions. As President and COO since 2011, Rodriguez took the company to $11 billion in revenues, serving 620,000 clients in more than 125 countries. He chairs ADP’s executive diversity council, a board that overseas and sets goals on employee results, and ties the compensation of senior leadership to diversity metrics. Rodriguez, was born in Cuba and came with his parents to the U.S. to escape the Castro regime.
4. J. Paul Raines, CEO, GameStop: Raines joined GameStop in 2008 as COO and was appointed CEO in 2010. GameStop is a surging video game and entertainment software retailer with $9.5 billion in annual revenue and 17,000 employees worldwide. During Raines’ tenure, the company has opened over 400 stores, and made multiple acquisitions in the key areas of technology streaming and social gaming categories. Before coming on board at GameStop, Raines worked in various retail operations management positions at Home Depot. Raines was born in San Jose, Costa Rica.
5. Joseph Molina, CEO, Molina Healthcare: Dr. Molina became CEO after his father, the company’s founder, passed away in 1996. In 2005, Molina was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America. Molina Healthcare serves over 1.8 million members in 10 states and is among the 1,000 largest U.S. corporations. The company started in 1980 as three primary care clinics in California dedicated to caring for community patients with limited ability to pay for healthcare.
Latina Women: According to a McKinsey & Co. study for the Wall Street Journal, 24% of senior vice presidents at 58 big corporations are women. The Journal highlighted ten women, who are on a fast-track to become a CEO in the coming years. Not one was a Latina. So, here are two women, one already a CEO, albeit not for a Fortune 500 company, with chief executive credentials:
Carmen Castillo, CEO, Superior Design International (SDI): Castillo was named the 2013 Woman of the Year by HispanicBusiness.com. Castillo is the first female Hispanic CEO and owner of a billion-dollar corporation in the United States.
Grace Lieblein, Vice President, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain, General Motors (GM): Lieblein is the highest-ranking Latina at General Motors. Before taking over supply chain in 2012, she had been president of GM do Brasil and GM de Mexico.