GUSTAVO A. CISNEROS
“One of eight men who run Latin America”
Designated by Business Week as one of eight men who run Latin America, Gustavo Cisneros, a 1968 Babson Graduate and trustee of the college, became president and chief executive officer of Organizacion Diego Cisneros (ODC) in 1970 at the age of 25.
ODC, a $2 billion complex of diversified companies based in Venezuela and controlled by the Cisneros family, operates in seven basic areas: communications, food retailing, manufacturing of industrial and consumer products, services, real estate, and finance. As a major voice in the television, radio, and magazine industries, the company’s influence is powerful and far-reaching. However, the welfare of the Venezuelan people and the priority needs of the country itself are foremost concerns when ODC plans its programs.
Besides the media, major areas of control are Venezuela’s largest supermarket chain, the Pepsi-Cola and Burger King franchises, and the company representing NCR Corporation in Venezuela.
Healthy profits and topnotch management have given ODC the flexibility to enter high-risk investment areas, such as agriculture, livestock raising, and construction of low-cost housing. “Zero rewards or zero risks are both alien to us,” says Cisneros, whose 10-year plan for ODC is to spread 50 percent of its business outside Venezuela.
Cisneros sees ODC as the bridge between entrepreneurs in Latin America and the rest of the world. This vision has led ODC toward becoming one of the few true multinational companies in South America by acquiring properties and investments in the United States.