News Column

Gaining Higher Ground

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The Hispanic Business Corporate Elite Directory started in 1989 with 48 names. As corporations simultaneously recognized the talent pool of Hispanic recruits and the market potential of Hispanic consumers, the number of names multiplied. It reached a high-water mark in 2002 with a total of 928 high-ranking Hispanics in Corporate America.

The growth of the Corporate Elite testified to the increasing presence of Hispanics inside corporations. But the original purpose of the list was to gauge the influence of Hispanics in decision-making at large for-profit organizations.

The Most Dynamic
In keeping with that objective, Hispanic Business has reduced the size of the list by raising the bar – on the size of the corporations for consideration, on the job titles that qualify individuals for the list, and on the impact of nominated executives' current accomplishments. Additionally, each year we place a heavy emphasis on identifying top leaders in a currently dynamic industry sector.
This year's Corporate Elite directory contains only 20 executives, five fewer than in 2005. But these managers wield tremendous influence, truly deserving of the title "Elite." They represent the vanguard of an expanding cadre of Hispanic managerial talent.

Health Sector Focus
The industry focus of the 2006 directory is on the intertwined healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries; two corporate sectors generally considered lacking in diversity, but economically and politically crucial. Only eight executives from these industries appear among the 20 Corporate Elite, highlighting the importance of these leaders as pioneers in an expanding sector of the economy.
Outside of healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the 2006 Corporate Elite has solid representation in the consumer goods sector (four executives), financial services (three), and technology (three). Retail and automotive each account for one executive, to round out the list.

Corporate Elite Nomination Requirements
To qualify for nomination for the Corporate Elite, the person must be a Hispanic U.S. citizen with the title of chairman, company president, CEO, CFO, COO, CIO (chief information officer), CTO (technology), CSO (strategy), chief economist, head of marketing, or selected division presidents and vice-presidents (senior and executive VPs only) of a Fortune 500 or other large, publicly traded company. Nominations for the list were taken throughout the year by HispanTelligence®, the research arm of Hispanic Business. Nominations for the 2007 listing may be submitted to

Nominations for the 2007 Corporate Elite may be submitted to or on the Web at

Tony Alvarez
Vice-President, Commercial Operations
Schering-Plough Japan
Tony Alvarez is responsible for commercial activities supporting Schering-Plough's pharmaceutical business in Japan (Schering-Plough Kabushiki Kaisha). He was appointed to this newly created position in September 2005 after serving as vice-president of global business planning and services since 2003. Formerly with Pharmacia Corporation (and its predecessor companies Pharmacia & Upjohn and the Upjohn Company), he headed global business planning and operations, served as country manager for Central America, and headed regional marketing, training, and operations for Latin America and Asia Pacific. He holds a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from St. John's University, New York.

Michael J. Castro
CFO & Senior Vice-President
Delta Dental of California
Michael J. Castro is chief financial officer and executive vice-president of Delta Dental of California, where he oversees all financial operations for the $4.4 billion, not-for-profit corporation, the largest dental benefits provider in the state, and its affiliates under a parent holding company, which altogether provide benefits to 20 million people in 16 states and the District of Columbia. His prior positions with the company include senior vice-president and vice-president of finance/controller. Previously he was a partner with the audit firm Clare, Chapman, Storey & Castro. He holds a BS degree from California State University, Sacramento and is a CPA.

Eduardo Castro-Wright
President & CEO
Wal-Mart Stores, USA
Wal-Mart Stores, USA promoted Eduardo Castro-Wright to the position of president and CEO in September 2005, from his previous position as executive vice-president and CEO. Mr. Castro-Wright joined Wal-Mart in 2001 as president and chief operating officer of Wal-Mart Mexico, and was promoted to president and CEO in 2003. Prior positions include president and CEO of Honeywell International Inc.'s Transportation and Power Systems, of Honeywell Asia/Pacific, of Nabisco Inc.'s Asia Pacific operations, of Nabisco Mexico, and of Nabisco Venezuela. He was born in Ecuador and has a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.

Alvaro G. de Molina
Bank of America Corporation
Alvaro G. de Molina is chief financial officer of Bank of America and a member of the bank's Risk & Capital and Management Operating Committees. His span of responsibility includes finance, corporate treasury, corporate investments, and investor relations. Previous positions include CEO of Banc of America Securities, president of global capital markets and investment banking, and corporate treasurer. Born in Havana, Mr. de Molina holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an MBA from Rutgers University, and completed the Duke University Advanced Management Program.

Arturo Elías
President & Managing Director, GM de México
General Motors
Arturo S. Elías has been president and managing director of GM de México since 2001. His responsibilities include vehicle sales, service, and marketing in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, as well as management of vehicle and power train manufacturing operations in Mexico, including an engineering design center and foundry operations. His many previous executive positions with GM have taken him to Argentina, Germany, Michigan, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Belgium, and New York City. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Carlos M. Garcia
Executive Managing Director; Chief of Banking & Insurance Operations
Countrywide Financial Corp.
Carlos M. Garcia is executive managing director and chief of banking and insurance operations for Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC), a diversified financial services provider and member of the S&P 500. As such he provides oversight and strategic direction to all insurance and banking activities. Since joining CFC in 1984, Mr. Garcia has led its expansion, serving as CFO of Countrywide Capital Markets, CEO of Countrywide Insurance Group, and CFO of Countrywide Financial Corp., and has overseen all corporate operations. He holds a BS degree in business and accounting from California State University, Long Beach and is a CPA.

Richard A. Gonzalez
President & COO, Medical Products
Group & Director
Abbott Laboratories
Richard Gonzalez assumed his position as president and chief operating officer of the Abbott Labs Medical Products Group in 2001. His previous positions in a long career with the corporation include senior vice-president of the Hospital Products Division, vice-president of the Abbott Health Systems Division, and divisional vice-president and general manager of the Diagnostics Division's operations in the United States and Canada. Before joining Abbott in 1977, he was a research biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Mr. Gonzalez earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Houston and a master's degree in biochemistry from the University of Miami.

Rafaela Herrera
Corporate Vice-President of Compliance
New York Life Insurance Co.
Rafaela Herrera is a corporate vice-president of compliance with New York Life, in charge of the Sales Material Review Unit. She directs a team of experts in insurance and securities advertising compliance to ensure that all advertising and communications with the public created by the company and its subsidiaries and sales force comply with industry regulations, as well as company policies and procedures. Previously, Ms. Herrera was a vice-president of Royal Alliance Associates, a leading investment securities firm for independent financial planners. Before that, she oversaw the commodities futures position of the Gulf+Western (bought by Viacom) international department.

Cathy Lyons
Chief Marketing Officer & Executive
Hewlett-Packard Co.
As executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Cathy Lyons is responsible for HP's global marketing strategy. She leads worldwide branding efforts and drives all marketing initiatives, including communications, brand strategy, and advertising. Previously, Ms. Lyons was senior vice-president of HP's global business and imaging printing, vice-president and general manager of the Inkjet supplies division, vice-president and general manager of the worldwide supplies business, and general manager of the LaserJet solutions group European operation, responsible for developing the digital sending technology concept.

Norma Martinez Lozano
Senior Vice-President, Merger Integration
AT&T Services, Inc.
As senior vice-president of merger integration for AT&T Services, Norma Martinez Lozano oversees activities associated with the merger of AT&T with purchaser SBC Communications, a former "Baby Bell." Previously, as president of diversified businesses for SBC Operations Inc., she managed operator services, public communications, messaging, paging, and video services in five subsidiaries covering 13 states: Ameritech, Nevada Bell, Pacific Bell, Southern New England Bell, and Southwestern Bell. Before that she was president and CEO of Southwestern Bell Messaging Services, and vice-president of diversity marketing for SBC Operations. She holds a BS degree in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Leonor McCall-Rodriguez
Vice-President, Emerging Markets
Blue Cross of California
Leonor McCall-Rodriguez leads the development of education and marketing strategies to support Blue Cross of California's penetration of ethnic and emerging uninsured markets. Previously, she was president of Mira Promo, Inc., a consulting firm specialized in helping corporations expand business in the Hispanic market; vice-president of the advertising/ promotions firm TV Promo International Group; general manager of Walker Advertising, a full-service ad agency; and marketing manager of the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion. She holds an MBA in marketing management from Universidad de Las Américas in Mexico City and a degree in economics from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

Angel L. Mendez
Senior Vice-President, Worldwide Manufacturing
Cisco Systems Inc.
Since joining Cisco Systems as senior vice-president of worldwide manufacturing in February 2005, Angel Mendez has led the company's manufacturing technology, new product introduction, supply-chain management, product manufacturing, and distribution activities. Formerly, he was senior vice-president of global operations for PalmOne Inc., where he drove a turnaround and return to profitability. He has also managed/improved various domestic and global manufacturing, sourcing, and supply-chain operations for General Electric, AlliedSignal Aerospace Equipment Systems, Citigroup, and Gateway Inc. He holds an MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and a BS degree in electrical engineering from Lafayette College.

Sylvia Montero
Senior Vice-President, Human Resources
Pfizer Inc.
As Pfizer's senior vice-president of human resources, Sylvia Montero is responsible for development of HR strategies, policies, plans, and practices for the company's 115,000 employees worldwide. She also heads the HR Leadership Team, responsible for implementing global HR strategy. Her many executive posts with Pfizer include: senior vice-president of human resources for global research and development; vice-president of human resources and public affairs for the Animal Health Group; executive director of personnel for Northern Asia, Australia, and Canada; and area personnel director in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Born in Puerto Rico, she holds a bachelor's degree from Barnard College and a master's from Queens College.

Steven O. Moya
Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice-President
Humana Inc.
As leader of Humana's corporate communications, government relations, and marketing departments, Steven Moya is supporting a transition to innovative, "consumer-centric" plans encouraging member involvement in managing their own healthcare. He co-founded the national PR firm Moya Villanueva & Associates, which specialized in corporate Hispanic communications, marketing, and public affairs. He has been vice-president of strategic planning and communications for LatinWorks Marketing in Texas; a principal with Growth Strategies Consulting, which builds business strategy on trend analysis; and senior vice-president of Manning Selvage and Lee, an international communications company.

Antonio M. Perez
President & CEO
Eastman Kodak Co.
Antonio Perez joined Kodak as president and chief operating officer in 2003, became a board member in 2004, and CEO in 2005. He and Chairman Daniel Carp are co-authors of Kodak's digitally oriented strategy to strengthen its position in the imaging industry's fastest-growing segments. He developed relevant expertise at Hewlett-Packard, where, as president of H-P's consumer business, he spearheaded development of its digital imaging and electronic publishing business, generating worldwide revenue of more than $16 billion. Born in Spain, he studied electronic engineering, marketing, and business in Spain and France.

Efrain Rivera
Corporate Vice-President and Treasurer
Bausch & Lomb
Efrain Rivera was named corporate vice-president and treasurer of Bausch & Lomb in 2004. Since joining this eye-health products corporation in 1989, he has held positions as general manager of Mexico operations, vice-president and controller of the global Vision Care business, and corporate vice-president and president of the Canada and Latin America Division. He was elected an officer of the company in 2002. He holds an executive doctorate in management from Case Western Reserve University, an MBA in finance from the University of Rochester, a JD from New York University, and a BS in psychology from Houghton College.

Vilma Salaverria
Second Vice-President of New Business/
Underwriting, Account Implementation
and Management
Vilma Salaverria, HIA, MHP serves as 2nd Vice President of New Business/Underwriting Account Implementation and Management (AIM) division for AFLAC. She holds a bachelor´s degree in business administration (with a major in accounting and a minor in management) from the University of Puerto Rico. Vilma joined AFLAC in 1992 and has held various positions: administrator for the Caribbean Territory, Hispanic marketing coordinator, operations manager for recruitment and multicultural markets, and manager of marketing services overhead. Vilma has earned her Health Insurance Associate (HIA) and Managed Healthcare Professional (MHP) designations.

Javier G. Teruel
Colgate-Palmolive Co.
As vice-chairman of Colgate-Palmolive since 2004, Javier Teruel heads the Hill's Pet Nutrition division, global R&D, global supply chain, and global information technology – and leads worldwide strategy development, including Colgate's global business building and restructuring initiatives. He joined Colgate-Mexico in 1971, then held marketing and management positions in Latin America; became vice-president of body care in global business development in New York; president and general manager of Colgate-Mexico; president of Colgate-Europe; chief growth officer for the corporation; executive vice-president responsible for Asia, Central Europe, Africa, and Hill's Pet Nutrition; and in 2004 became responsible for "sharpening" worldwide strategy.

Josh Valdez
Senior Vice-President, Healthcare Management
WellPoint Inc.
Josh Valdez is senior vice-president of healthcare management for WellPoint-West Region, including Blue Cross of California, Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Nevada, and Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Colorado. He oversees $10 billion in provider contracts, as well as provider relations, clinical strategies and operations, and provider database operations. Previously he was the Health and Human Services western regional director, and held top executive positions with several California medical groups. He holds a BS degree in business administration from National University, an MBA in health services management from Golden Gate University, and a PhD in healthcare administration from Southern California University.

Elpidio Villarreal
Vice-President & Associate General Counsel, Litigation & Conflict Management
As Schering-Plough's vice-president and associate counsel of litigation and conflict management, Elpidio Villarreal provides strategic and legal leadership for non-employee litigation matters, including the government, securities, anti-trust, product, and commercial areas. Previously, Mr. Villarreal was senior counsel of litigation and legal policy for General Electric, where he headed GE's Litigation Council and led development of the award-winning Early Dispute Resolution Program and the legal department diversity initiatives. Before that he was a partner of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, and an associate with Latham & Watkins LLP. He holds a bachelor's in history from Columbia University and a JD from Yale University.

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