Cemex’s chief executive officer, Lorenzo Zambrano, who led the Mexican cement major for almost three decades, has died aged 70. A statement by the company said that Mr Zambrano passed away in the Spanish city of Madrid on 12 May 2014 of natural causes.
A grandson of the company’s founder, Mr Zambrano joined Cemex in 1968 and worked his way through the ranks. During his career with Cemex he was involved in all operational aspects of the business and held several positions in Cemex prior to his appointment as director of operations in 1981. In 1985, Mr Zambrano was appointed CEO and in 1995 he was elected chairman of the board of directors.
In his role as CEO, he designed and implemented the strategy that would allow Cemex to grow from a local operation in northern Mexico to one of the world's leading multinational cement producers. Speaking to International Cement Review in 2000, Mr Zambrano said his personal ambition for Cemex was to make it a "global company" with a "truly international management team with a global outlook". Under Zambrano's helm the Monterrey-based firm undertook a series of acquisitions to expand beyond Mexico and now has operations in more than 50 countries with approximately 43,000 employees. Today, it ranks as the fourth-largest cement producer in the world with a production capacity of 94Mta.
Mr Zambrano was a graduate of Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) with a degree in mechanical engineering and administration and also was awarded an MBA from Stanford University, California.
He was a member of the board of directors of Cementos Chihuahua, IBM, Enseñanza e Investigación Superior AC and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey AC (MARCO). Mr Zambrano participated in the chairman’s council of Daimler Chrysler AG until July 2005, was a member of the Stanford University’s Graduate School Business Advisory Council until 2006, of the board of directors of Vitro SAB de CV until 2007, of the board of directors of Alfa SAB de CV until 2008, of the board of directors of Grupo Televisa SAB and Banamex until April 2009 and of the board of directors of Fomento Económico Mexicano SAB de CV (FEMSA) and the international advisory board of Citigroup until 2011 and served as chairman of the board of directors of Enseñanza e Investigación Superior AC, which manages ITESM, until February 2012.
In recognition of his business and philanthropic record, Mr Zambrano received several awards and recognitions, including the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, the America’s Society Gold Medal Distinguished Service Award and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Alumni Association’s Ernest C Arbuckle Award.