Carlos Gutierrez, or, as he's becoming known, The American Dream Personified, starts out a Cuban refugee in Miami. He grows up to drive a Kellogg’s truck, becomes Kellogg’s CEO in 1999, and yesterday won the nomination of commerce secretary in the Bush White House. Did Horatio Alger pen this story, or what?
Bush, finally looking outside his inner circle to fill his cabinet, has made a savvy choice in Gutierrez. Besides his appealing life story, he's a smart executive. As CEO of Kellogg's, he made small changes--like adding mini Rice Krispies treats to the Malaysian product line, and hawking breakfast-on-the-go in Britain--backed by his in-store observations and chats with customers. His strategy boosted Kellogg's revenue from $6.2B to $8.8B during his tenure.
Here's hoping he'll be more effective than outgoing commerce secretary Don Evans. The Texas oilman and longtime W. compadre didn't do much in his four years. But as Bush focuses on revamping social security and the tax code, Gutierrez should play an influential role. (His background in sales should prove useful in pitching the public on Bush's economic agenda--no easy sales call, that.)
Meanwhile, Stephen Friedman of the White House National Economic Council has announced he's leaving; Gregory Mankiw of the Council of Economic Advisers (and the author of that ubiquitous economics textbook--has anyone not read that thing?) is expected to step down soon; and there's speculation that Treasury Secretary John Snow will leave as well. Who should--and who will--Bush pick to fill those spots? What should be on Gutierrez's to-do list? Post suggestions here...
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