October 14, 2022
National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.
While it might seem odd for a heritage celebration to start and begin in the middle of a month, the day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
Hispanic business leaders and companies have made a huge (and growing) impact on our culture. Retail shareholders interested in investing in companies with Hispanic roots have several options, as do individual investors looking for companies headed by Hispanic business leaders.
Grupo Televisa (Tii:TV) is media conglomerate headquartered in Mexico City with a focus on Spanish language content. Exclusively licensed with Univision for U.S. broadcasts, it is involved in the production and broadcasting of native language television shows, as well as the distribution of magazines.
Molina Healthcare (Tii:MOH) was founded by Dr. C. David Molina, who opened his first clinic in Long Beach, California in 1980 to provide quality healthcare for low-income families and those under coverage provided by the government who were using emergency room services instead of general healthcare services. Molina Healthcare provides Medicaid and State Children’s Insurance programs in 10 states, medical clinics in five states, Medicare Advantage plans, integrated Medicare/Medicaid health plans, and it also offers plans in the recent federal Exchange in several states where they participate with healthcare plans.
International Bancshares Corp. (Tii:IBOC) is a bank holding company based in Laredo, Texas whose main subsidiary is International Bank of Commerce. The International Bank of Commerce was founded by A.R. Sanchez Sr. and other Laredo entrepreneurs. IBC Bank ranked among top 5 of all Hispanic-owned U.S. businesses by Hispanic Business Magazine.
First BanCorp (Tii:FBP) is a publicly owned financial holding company located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. FirstBank was the first Savings & Loan institution established in Puerto Rico in 1948. Today, the company provides financial services for retail, commercial and institutional clients in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Florida.
Another bank with Hispanic roots is Popular (Tii:BPOP), which does business as Banco Popular in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is known as Popular Bank in the U.S. The financial services conglomerate recently expanded into other areas of the Caribbean and Central America. Popular is the parent company of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Popular Bank, E-Loan and several other companies.
Hispanic leaders are making their mark on corporate America as well, leading some of the largest companies in the world.
Frank del Rio is CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (Tii:NCLH) and is a 25-year veteran of the cruise industry. Retail investors who hold 100 shares of Norwegian for at least three weeks can earn valuable onboard credits simply for owning stock in the company through TiiCKER.
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PepsiCo (Tii:PEP) is led by Ramon Laguarta, who has served as CEO since Oct. 2018. He started with the company in 1996 running various European divisions before he was named president in Sept. 2017. He became chairman of the board at PepsiCo in Jan. 2019.
Juan Ricardo Luciano is CEO and chairman of The Archer Daniels Midland Company (Tii:ADM), a company he first joined in 2011 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He is also on the board of Eli Lilly and Co (Tii:LLY).
Ingersoll Rand (Tii:IR) is under the direction of President and CEO Vicente Reynal. Reynal previously served as CEO of Gardner Denver and was a member of its board. Gardner Denver completed a merger with the Ingersoll Rand Industrial segment in 2020 and is now part of Ingersoll Rand.
DaVita (Tii:DVA), the healthcare company with a focus on dialysis and kidney care, is led by Javier Rodriguez. Rodriguez also serves on the board of Gilead Science (Tii:GILD). He rose through the ranks at DaVita, where he previously worked as head of DaVita’s Kidney Care division.
While Hispanic business leaders have made great strides, it is worth noting that there have been only two Hispanic women CEOs to lead Fortune 500 companies – Geisha Williams, former CEO of PG&E (Tii:PCG) and Cheryl Miller, who worked as CEO of AutoNation (Tii:AN). According to the Latino Corporate Directors Association, only 1% of Hispanic women make up executive boards at Fortune 500 companies – less than any major gender or ethnic group.
This article respectfully uses the term “Hispanic” throughout, but it is worth noting that some Latinos reject the it as a pan-ethnic blanket term. They argue it was imposed by the government during the Nixon era and its use as a term for Spanish speakers ignores the indigenous communities and diverse languages spoken across Latin America and excludes Latinos who are not fluent or interested in becoming proficient in the Spanish language.
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