Ricardo B. Salinas
Ricardo B. Salinas is a corporate leader, focused on increasing the value of businesses and their dynamic and efficient execution. As chairman of the board of Grupo Salinas, he supports competitive market structures, free trade and deregulation.
Mr. Salinas became CEO of Elektra in 1987, when the company had 59 stores and was facing bankruptcy following the devaluation of the peso. Mr. Salinas directed Elektra to its basic products: appliances, electronics and furniture. Reinstated credit sales with careful risk-management programs and began offering other financial products and services, including money transfers through an alliance with Western Union.
Through organic expansion and purchases of other retail businesses, in just a few years, he transformed Grupo Elektra into Mexico’s largest specialty retailer.
He managed to position the company as one of the largest financial services firms in the country, by winning a banking license in 2002 which became Banco Azteca. In 2003, Grupo Elektra was granted a license to operate a pension-management business, branded as Afore Azteca.
Later, the company bought an insurance business, currently branded as Seguros Azteca, designed to bring basic insurance products to the mass market.
In 2012, Grupo Elektra bought Advance America, leading company in non-banking short term loans in United States and opened Punto Casa de Bolsa, stock market subsidiary that operates with the highest standards of safety and efficiency.
Mr. Salinas is also chairman of TV Azteca, which was founded in 1993, when an investor group, led by him, bought two national television licenses from the Mexican government. Under his leadership, Azteca ended Mexico’s long-standing television monopoly through the successful nationwide positioning of Azteca 13 and Azteca 7 networks. Azteca also has control of Azteca Internacional and Proyecto 40, a cultural channel. In 2001, Azteca launched Azteca America (Azteca US), the fastest growing network in the U.S. Today, the company has affiliates in more than 70 cities where 91% of Latin Americans live.
In 2003, Grupo Salinas acquired Iusacell, the first cellular telephone company in Mexico. In 2007, Grupo Iusacell merged with Unefon, another company of cellular telephony, created by Ricardo Salinas in 1999. In 2015, Mr. Salinas sold Grupo Iusacell to AT&T.
The role of Ricardo B. Salinas as a business leader, visionary and innovator has been recognized by some of the world’s leading business organizations. He has addressed the World Economic Forum, The Young Presidents Organization, The Economist Round-table on Mexico, member of the Strategic News Service, among others.
Mr. Salinas seeks value in high-growth industries, as well as highly recognized managers; and through Grupo Salinas, he generates synergies and shares strategies to achieve superior growth. With it, the Groups companies generate wealth for employees and shareholders; promoting as well the cultural and community values.
Mr. Salinas believes that access to health and education, as well as the protection of the environment, is key to the generation of welfare in our communities. That is why he created Fundación Azteca in 1997, which has benefited thousands of persons. In 2005, Mr. Salinas oversaw the launch of Fundación Azteca America, the U.S. sibling of Fundación Azteca, committed to benefit and improve the well-being of the Hispanic community.
Beyond his global interests, Mr. Salinas heart remains at home as a family man, as a patron of the arts with his support for contemporary Mexican painters, and as a Mexican citizen with an abiding love for culture, deep respect for people, and a profound belief in the possibilities of democratic change and economic transformation towards an open market.
Ricardo B. Salinas has a degree in accountancy with honorary distinctions from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, an MBA from Tulane University, and a Honorary Doctorate from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara.
Official Website: www.ricardosalinas.com
Official blog: www.ricardosalinas.com/blog
Luis J. Echarte - Chairman of the Board of Azteca America
A welcome note from Luis J. Echarte
Mr. Echarte joined Grupo Salinas in 1994. Currently, he is Chairman of the Board of Azteca America, as well as President and CEO of Fundación Azteca America. Mr. Echarte is also General Director of International Relations of Grupo Salinas.
He has served as CFO of TV Azteca and Grupo Elektra, where he achieved the securitization of the company's portfolio, first of its kind in Latin America. As CEO of Azteca America, he achieved the required distribution to be recognized as one of the ten largest TV networks in the U.S.
Previously, he was President and CEO of Bacardi Imports, Inc. developing a global growth strategy for the company. Mr. Echarte is a member of the boards of TV Azteca, Grupo Elektra, Grupo Iusacell, Casa de Bolsa Actinver and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He is also member of the World's Presidents Organization and Chief Executive Organization.
Nathalie Rayes - National Public Relations Director of Grupo Salinas and Executive Director of Fundación Azteca America
Nathalie Rayes is the U.S. National Public Relations Director for Grupo Salinas, a Mexican conglomerate with US$5 billion in annual sales and 80,000 employees in Mexico, the United States, and Central and South America, and with operations in the broadcasting, retail, banking and financial services, telecommunications and internet. Nathalie is also the Executive Director of Grupo Salinas’ philanthropic arm in the United States, Fundación Azteca America that seeks to improve the quality of life of Latinos by partnering with existing nonprofits to empower, create awareness and motivate change on social and civic issues.
Previously, Nathalie served as Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn Deputy Chief of Staff, directing the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, serving as chief liaison to federal, state and regional governments and to the Los Angeles City Council, International Trade, Protocol, Immigrant Affairs, as well as Mayor’s appointments to City commissions and boards. Prior to that, Nathalie was Senior Policy Advisor to Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Feuer, heading all aspects of Councilmember’s activities with respect to citywide legislation and ordinances impacting the Fifth Council District. Nathalie also served as a Department of State Fellow in the Economic/Political Section of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
Nathalie is the recipient of Santa Monica College 2013 Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award for Outstanding Professional and Community Service Achievement, as well as 2012 “Mujeres Destacadas Award” a recognition given annually by El Diario La Prensa to the most outstanding women in our community. She is a Fellow of the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, the leading cross-sectional leadership development program in the Asia-Pacific region. She serves on many boards including the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute Board of Directors, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Advisory Council, US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and founding member of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Public Policy Alumni Council.
Nathalie has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology cum laude and Masters in Public Policy with concentrations in International Relations and Education from the UCLA. Nathalie is fluent in Spanish and conversational Arabic. Nathalie resides in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts with her husband, Dr. Tarek Samad, and their young sons, Julian and Alexander.