North / South America
The man behind CEMEX
Jul, 18 2012
Despite Cemex’s global geographic coverage, its operating income last year plunged by 66 percent from its peak in 2006. The global economic slowdown in addition to the housing crash in the United States, and the $14.3 billion buyout of Australia’s Rinker Group Ltd., pushed CEMEX to become the world’s largest provider of construction supplies but also into financial hardship.
But Lorenzo Zambrano Treviño has steered the company during difficult times before. The Mexican corporation was almost sold in 1985 for $300M. Today, it is estimated to be worth $25 billion. The Monterrey born business man, 67, has made handling production and growth through innovative technology one of his strengths.
He joined CEMEX, a family business founded by his grandfather, in 1969, after completing his studies in Mexico and the United States. Sitting at different positions in the company, he developed the strategy that would take the company nationally and internationally as Director of Operations.
In 1985, now the CEO of the company, Zambrano engineered the acquisition of Cementos Anáhuac, and Cementos Tolteca in 1989, its principal competitor, which converted the company in the largest Mexican building supplies provider.
In 1992, the global ready-mix cement manufacturer started its global expansion by acquiring plants in Spain, Venezuela, Colombia, Filipinas, Egypt and other worldwide locations over the years.
In 2003, Zambrano became an IBM board member. He is currently chair of the Directors and Corporate Governance Committee, and a member of IBM’s Executive Committee.
In his biography, ‘Oro Gris. Zambrano, la gesta de Cemex y la globalización en México’ published by Aguilar in 2007, the journalist, researcher and academic Rossana Fuentes Berain depicts Zambrano as a hardcore capitalist who can work 24/7 and demands the same level of commitment from his employees, handling his company based on performance and not on “last names.”
He belongs to the close select environment of Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.
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