Guatemalan businessmen who are enormously successful

When intelligence is combined with a visionary spirit, a restless mind, the desire to work hard and do things well, the spark of ingenuity is ignited and opportunities for success open. This is the case of Emilio Méndez, Juan José Gutiérrez, and Luis Von Ahn, resourceful and hard-working Guatemalan businessmen who have achieved success and have left a deep mark on the country’s history.

Emilio Mendez Bonetto

Emilio Méndez is a one of the businessmen known as the creative director of Saúl, a company that brings together fashion and gastronomy, an icon of trends and innovation. One of the keys of success is getting out of your comfort zone. 

At the business level, the success of the family brand that he runs alongside his brothers is due not only to his tenacity, creativity and innovation, but also to the clear vision that a brand is built by philosophy and values, which move among the customers’ experience.

Juan José Gutierrez Mayorga

Born in a family of businessmen, Juan José is Chairman of CMI Alimentos, a business group of CMI (Corporación Multi Inversiones), a multi-Latin family corporation founded in Guatemala in 1920 by his grandfather, Juan Bautista Gutiérrez. CMI has more than 40,000 collaborators in 14 countries on 3 continents, generating investment, employment and development in the region.

CMI’s businesses include, in the CMI Alimentos group , wheat flour mills, pasta and biscuit production; poultry, pork, processed and sausage manufacturing industry; balanced food for animals and pets; restaurant industry, with its Pollo Campero brand, among others.

Juan José Gutiérrez assumed the Corporate Presidency of CMI in 2011 and since then has directed the growth and expansion strategies of the corporation’s businesses. In 2018 he was named Chairman of CMI Alimentos. He is also director of PRONACA, a leading Ecuadorian company dedicated to the production and distribution of food products.

Businessmen Juan Luis Bosch Gutiérrez and cousin Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga

He was president of Pollo Campero for more than 30 years, during which time he directed its expansion throughout Central America, the United States and Europe, becoming today the largest restaurant chain of Latin American origin in the world with a presence in 10 countries and more than 340 restaurants. of which 76 are in the United States and 30 in Spain and Italy. 

In 2005 Newsweek USA published Juan José Gutiérrez as one of the Super CEO’s on its cover, naming him one of the “Ten Big Thinkers for Big Business”.

Between 1990-1995, he was president of the Committee of Commercial and Financial Agricultural Associations in Guatemala (CACIF) , president of the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry (CIG) ; President of the Federation of Central American Chambers of Industry (FECAICA) and the Federation of Private Sector Associations in Central America and the Caribbean (FEDEPRICAP).

In 2020, Lisa Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga assumes the Presidency of the Juan Bautista Gutiérrez Foundation, the social arm of CMI that supports projects focused especially on education and health. 

Three of his most relevant projects are: 

  • University Scholarship Program , from which more than 100 professionals in different careers have graduated. And every year 25 new scholarships are awarded.
  • My Health…My Responsibility Program , through which they have trained more than 80,000 young people and 8,000 teachers between 2008-2017.
  • Nutrition and Community Entrepreneurship Program , works to reduce the current rates of chronic malnutrition and promote alternatives that improve women’s income through community enterprises in San Cristóbal, Totonicapán, Guatemala. 

It also makes an important contribution to children with cancer through the ÚNETE program each year. Juan José’s participation in the various education and health projects reflects his commitment to the future of the next generations and the search for better living conditions for people.

Louis Von Ahn

He is one of the most internationally recognized Guatemalan businessmen and entrepreneurs.  His journey began at the American College, where he fell in love with computers. This is how he decided to study pure mathematics and chose the prestigious Duke University to achieve it. He currently has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

His interest in solving one of the most common computer problems at the time, that computers could accurately identify a human being and differentiate it from a bot, ended in the creation of Captcha and Recaptcha. These are computer programs that use distorted letters that only a human being can decipher.

It was such an ingenious solution that Google soon bought Recaptcha for a million dollar figure. Not satisfied with this tremendous contribution, he created Duolingo, a free platform for language learning, the most popular in the world. The reason, as he explains in an interview , was precisely his search to contribute to Guatemala. The idea is to use technology to revolutionize access to education in the country, since it is convinced that this is the best way for development.

Luis Von Ahn has shown that with a lot of ingenuity you can be successful in business, without neglecting the contribution to education and social development.

Carla Fowler

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