Citigroup Inc.’s Carlos Gutierrez, the vice chairman of its institutional clients group, resigned to become chairman of Republicans for Immigration Reform.
Gutierrez, 59, who led the Commerce Department under President George W. Bush, helped to found the super-political action committee last year. Born in Havana, Gutierrez joined New York-based Citigroup in December 2010 and worked in a division that includes the lender’s trading, investment-banking and corporate lending operations.
“Carlos has long been a passionate, critical voice in the discussion on immigration reform,” Jamie Forese and Ned Kelly, who oversee the unit, wrote today in an employee memo obtained by Bloomberg News. “Carlos has become a trusted adviser, providing Citi and our clients with his unique global perspectives on a myriad of issues facing the world economy.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama in November because the “far right” of the party has taken it to a place where it doesn’t belong, Gutierrez said that month, according to a transcript of a CNN interview. Romney received only 27 percent of the fast-growing Hispanic vote in the election after calling for the “self-deportation” of Hispanics in the U.S. illegally.
Gutierrez spent almost 30 years at Kellogg Co., the biggest U.S. cereal maker. He joined the Battle Creek, Michigan-based company in 1975 as a sales representative and rose to president and chief executive officer in 1999, becoming the youngest CEO in its almost 100-year history, Citigroup said in 2010. He was named board chairman in April 2000.
The Washington Post reported Gutierrez’s plan to resign earlier today on its political blog, the Fix.