President Bush has chosen a Cuban-born business executive to be his new Secretary of Commerce. Carlos Gutierrez made his name in corporate America as head of the Kellogg Company, a Michigan-based manufacturer of breakfast cereals and snacks that has factories in 19 countries, and sells its products around the world.
The president says Mr. Gutierrez is the right man to head the Commerce Department. "Carlos Gutierrez is one of America's most respected business leaders," said Mr. Bush. "He is a great American success story."
The new secretary-designate came to the United States from Cuba as a small boy. The president said Mr. Gutierrez understands American business from the first rung on the ladder to the very top, noting he began his career with the Kellogg Company as a truck driver, delivering boxes of cereal in Mexico City.
"Ten years after he started, he was running the Mexican business," said President Bush, "and 15 years after that, he was running the entire company."
President Bush called Carlos Gutierrez an effective executive and an innovative leader who will bring creativity and expertise to the Cabinet. He said Mr. Gutierrez knows exactly what is needed to help businesses grow and create jobs.
"He will be a strong, principled voice for American business and an inspiration for millions of men and women who dream of a better life in our country," said the president.
The Kellogg chief executive is the second Latino to be named to a Cabinet post since the president's November 2 election victory. Like Attorney General-designate Alberto Gonzalez, Carlos Gutierrez faces confirmation hearings and a vote in the U.S. Senate. He is expected to be approved easily, a sign perhaps of his standing in the business community, where he is credited with turning around a company plagued by lagging sales and high debt.
As he stood by the president's side at the White House, Mr. Gutierrez spoke of new challenges ahead. "Mr. President, I believe passionately in your vision of a 21st century where America is the best country in the world with which to do business," said Mr. Guierrez.
Once confirmed, he will replace the president's long-time friend and confidant, Donald Evans, and he is likely to be the first in a series of high-level appointments to the Bush administration's economic team.
Topping the president's domestic agenda are tax reform and overhauling Social Security, the massive government program that uses special tax revenue to provide pensions for the elderly. Tough fights with Congress are expected, and there are signs the president wants a strong group of top advisors that is well respected on Capitol Hill and capable of selling his proposals to lawmakers.
There is talk that the next Cabinet member to be replaced could be Treasury Secretary John Snow.
When asked about the possibility of a change at the top of the Treasury Department, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said John Snow has been a valuable member of the economic team, but he also said the president is taking a look at his Cabinet as he prepares for a second term, and that different challenges could necessitate different talents.