National Hispanic Heritage Month: The Issues Facing Today’s Latino Executives
Each year, millions of Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. First proclaimed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, the event grew into a month-long celebration of Latin culture and history.
On the corporate front, people of Hispanic descent have made significant strides, but still have a long way to go before workplace equality is reached at the higher ranks. As of 2019, Hispanics occupy only about 4 percent of executive positions in the U.S. despite being 18.3 percent of its population and the largest minority group, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. However, there are several Hispanic C-suiters at leading publicly traded companies. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a look at some of them.
Helmed by José E. Almeida, chairman, president and CEO since January 2016, Baxter International Inc. (Tii:BAX) is a leading global medical products company with a massive portfolio of critical care, nutrition, renal, hospital and surgical products and several recent FDA approvals for devices. Then there’s Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (Tii:ADM), which under Juan R. Luciano's tenure as chairman, president and CEO, has built up a global nutrition business and developed innovative new technologies. The company recently reported earnings of 0.84 per share for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, compared with $0.42 for the same period last year on higher results from its Ag Services & Oilseeds and Nutrition businesses.
Some industries have been hit harder by recent events than others, to which Oscar Muñoz, Executive Chairman of United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (Tii:UAL) can no doubt attest. A once-in-a-century pandemic that has resulted in not only a drying up of business travel – the lifeblood for airlines – but for leisure travel as well. On a more positive note, the company announced that it was a step closer to saving thousands of jobs after pilot union leaders voted to approve a tentative agreement with the company. Pedro J. Pizarro is also no stranger to facing challenges due to outside events. As president and CEO of Edison International (Tii:EIX), the parent company of Southern California Edison, he has to steer the electricity supply company through the impact of deadly wildfires raging throughout the region.
Shareholders of Automatic Data Processing Inc. (Tii:ADP) are no doubt happy that the stock is currently trading nearly 33 percent from its 52-week low, which is also good news for Carlos A. Rodriguez, who was named president and CEO of the leading provider of human resources management software and services back in 2011. In a similar vein, Horacio Rozanski, the Argentinian-American president and CEO of global management and information technology consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (Tii:BAH), reported that the company achieved record top and bottom-line performance in fiscal 2020. Further, the company projected future growth for 2021.
Antonio Neri is a true renaissance man. In addition to a stint in the Argentinian Navy as an engineering apprentice, he taught art, specializing in drawing and painting. Now, as the president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (Tii:HPE), a global edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company, he’s overseeing the development of the next wave of innovative technologies. HPE recently announced a program focused on partnering with Indian startups working in AI, DevSecOps, cybersecurity and intelligent edge.
Adapting to changes in business conditions is a must-have skill for every leadership team, which is something Robert Sanchez, Chairman and CEO of transportation and logistics company, Ryder System, Inc. (Tii:R), surely knows. As a result of the pandemic-related impact on the company’s rental, supply chain automotive, and used vehicle sales businesses, he announced a new capital allocation strategy to accelerate growth in Ryder’s higher return supply chain and dedicated businesses.
With the acquisition of Allergan plc, diversifying its revenue base and providing immediate scale and profitability, it’s no surprise that AbbVie Inc. (Tii:ABBV) CEO Richard A. Gonzalez was bullish during the company’s recent presentation at the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Conference. The biopharmaceutical company focused on immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women's health and gastroenterology separately reported that worldwide net revenues for its second quarter ended June 30, 2020, increased 26.3 percent to $10.425 billion, its strong results beating prior guidance.
While Hispanic senior executives at large public corporations remain few and far between – and Hispanic women execs practically non-existent – perhaps in time, the 4 percent of executive positions held by a group on track to become one-third of the U.S. population by 2050 will grow larger.