WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Board of Directors of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council (USCBC), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, announced today the election of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, co-chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, as the Council’s first chair. In addition, the Council’s Board elected Frank del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines; Mike Fernandez, chairman & CEO of MBF Healthcare Partners; Candace Matthews, president of the Americas at Amway; and Tom Nides, vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, as vice chairs.
“This is a historic opportunity to press for a new bilateral relationship, and the Board’s choice of Secretary Gutierrez as chairman signals its willingness to bring the full force of the private sector to the tasks ahead,” USCBC president Jodi Hanson Bond said.
As Chairman, Gutierrez will lead the Council in its work to urge ambitious economic reform in Cuba and build a stronger and strategic commercial relationship between Cuba and the United States. On February 16, Gutierrez and the Council will welcome Rodrigo Malmierca, Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Trade & Investment, to Washington for a visit with U.S. private and public sector leaders. Throughout 2016, the Council will continue to lead delegations to Cuba in order to assist U.S. companies interested in doing business in Cuba, while encouraging both governments to further expand the areas in which our members can currently operate.
“Minister Malmierca's upcoming visit, together with the U.S. regulatory changes announced a few weeks ago, create unparalleled opportunities for the United States and Cuba, particularly in the areas of travel and small business growth,” said Gutierrez. “Through our improving relationships and partnerships, we will continue our work to ensure our members are able to effectively engage in the Cuban market, while fostering strong bilateral ties between our two governments.”
Gutierrez is currently the co-chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm. He served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009, and as president and CEO of Kellogg Company prior to that.
The USCBC works with the U.S. Congress, respective public and private sectors, and other key stakeholders to remove barriers to trade and create jobs, growth and prosperity in both countries. Additionally, the council urges the Cuban government to continue to make policy changes to lessen government control or ownership of Cuban businesses.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.