Grupo Bimbo CEO: ‘A true global leader’
Servitje will receive the ‘International Executive of the Year’ award from the executive club tomorrow at a luncheon in Navy Pier, Chicago in recognition of his business efforts over the past year.
“Daniel Servitje is a true global leader,” said Ilene Gordon, director of the Executives’ Club of Chicago and chairman, president and CEO of Ingredion Incorporated.
“Not only has he grown Grupo Bimbo to be the largest bakery in the world, but he also distinguished himself by chairing the World Economic Forum in Latin America and speaking at the G20,” Gordon continued.
First non-US executive
Every year the executive club honors an individual that it considers has shown “exemplary leadership” that has resulted in significant contributions to their business and the broader global business community.
Past honorees include chairman and CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of General Motors and chairman and president of IBM Corporation Samuel J. Palmisano.
Servitje will be the first non-US executive to receive the ‘international executive of the year’ award, a move Gordon said she is delighted to be a part of.
Bimbo’s US strategy
Unlike other manufacturers, the Mexican bread titan has chosen to focus efforts on select markets, namely Latin America, the US, China Spain and Portugal. It has not opted for international expansion beyond this so far.
Bimbo has instead opted to invest most heavily in its closest, neighboring market – the US. It plans to pump $1bn into growing market presence by 2015.
In the last few years Grupo Bimbo has made a series of acquisitions and expansion investments to strengthen US presence. In 2011 it paid out $959m for Sara Lee and in April 2012 expanded distribution of the brand across Northeast US markets through its US subsidiary Bimbo Bakeries USA.
Just this year, Bimbo also acquired the Beefsteak brand from bankrupt Hostess Brands for $31.9m.
Last month market data expert Virginia Garavaglia from Kantar World Panel told BakeryandSnacks.com that Bimbo’s lack of global penetration is one of its ‘peculiarities’.
The Bimbo brand (excluding sister brands like Sara Lee or Marinela) has a global penetration of 7.6%, according to Kantar data. This measures up low against other popular international food brands like Maggi, Knorr, Lay’s and Oreo that all have a global penetration of above 20%.
Garavaglia said after its US investments, the company should drive penetration in China where growth is healthy.