November 29, 2004
By Caren Bohan
President Bush on Monday chose Carlos Gutierrez, the Cuban-born CEO of Kellogg Co, as his nominee to be commerce secretary, his second selection of a Hispanic for a second-term Cabinet.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gutierrez, 51, will replace Don Evans, one of six Bush cabinet members to resign after the Republican president's Nov. 2 re-election.
The selection of Gutierrez for commerce, along with the selection earlier this month of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales for attorney general, could help Bush's efforts to reach out to Hispanic voters. In the election, some exit polls showed Bush boosting his share of the growing vote to 44 percent, up from 35 percent in 2000.
On the campaign trail Bush appealed to Florida's politically potent Cuban-American community by pledging to keep up the pressure on Cuban President Fidel Castro. Gutierrez was 6 when Castro took over in Havana, trapping Gutierrez's family in Miami where they were on vacation.
At a White House ceremony, Bush hailed Gutierrez as a "great American success story" who learned English as a bellhop in a Miami hotel and rose through the ranks of Kellogg, starting as a truck driver delivering the company's trademark "Frosted Flakes" cereal.
Gutierrez has been chairman of the board of Kellogg since April 2000 and chief executive officer since April 1999. He joined the company in Mexico in 1975.
At every stage of his career, said Bush, "Carlos motivated others with his energy and his optimism and impressed others with his decency."