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Senate Confirms Gutiérrez as Commerce Secretary

New York, Jan 26, 2005

The United States Senate confirmed Carlos Gutiérrez, chief executive officer of the Kellogg Co., as secretary of the Department of Commerce. Gutiérrez replaces Don Evans, who held the post during President Bush's first term.

“Carlos Gutiérrez is one of America's greatest business leaders and a great American success story," Bush said earlier this month at a White House ceremony. “He understands the world of business from the first rung on the ladder to the very top."

Mr. Gutiérrez fled Cuba with his family as a child in 1960 and rose from selling cereal from a van in Mexico City to become the successful head of the Kellogg Company, the largest U.S.-cereal-maker. He has served in a variety of senior management positions in Latin America, Canada, United States and Asia Pacific. He is credited with significant corporate improvements at the cereal giant, including honing the company’s marketing strategies and reducing debt.

During the floor debate on his nomination, lawmakers spoke to the challenges he will face in reducing the federal trade deficit and addressing the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, especially to China.

During his January 24 confirmation hearing, Gutiérrez pledged to improve opportunities for all U.S. companies by striving to reduce "trade and regulatory barriers that unreasonably burden our businesses and their workers."

He also promised to push for improvement in the United States' ability to forecast hazardous weather and ocean conditions, like the tsunami that killed more than 234,000 people in Asia last month. According to a Reuter's report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accounts for nearly 60 percent of the Commerce Department's budget.

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