How Did I Get Here?

Ilene Gordon

Chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Ingredion
  • Education
  • Newton South High School, Newton, Mass., class of 1971
  • MIT, class of 1975
  • MIT Sloan School of Management, class of 1976
  • Work Experience
  • 1976–80
    Management consultant, Boston Consulting Group
  • 1980–82
    Director of strategic planning, Signode
  • 1982–94
    Vice president, Packaging Corp. of America
  • 1994–97
    VP for operations, Tenneco
  • 1997–99
    VP, general manager, Packaging Corp. of America
  • 1999–2006
    President, Pechiney Plastic Packaging, Alcan Food Packaging Americas
  • 2007–09
    President and CEO, Alcan Packaging and Rio Tinto Alcan
  • 2009–Present
    Chairman, president, and CEO, Ingredion
  • Life Lessons
  • “International assignments put you on the fast track to success.”
  • “Find a mentor who will push you out of your comfort zone.”
  • “Always actively help the people you’ve let go find new careers. Executives I’ve let go are now my customers.”
  • With classmates at her college graduation, 1975
  • “I majored in math and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. The ratio of men to women there was 10-to-1. I lived in the women’s dorm, and we all still keep in touch.”
  • At Sloan, 1976
  • “Alcan bought Pechiney in 2003, and they asked me to head up the $1.5 billion packaging business for the Americas. Then in 2006 they promoted me to run the global packaging business, which was $6.5 billion and based in Paris. Then we were taken over by Rio Tinto.”
  • With Ingredion engineering manager Guillermo Hernandez Quintana in Cali, Colombia, 2015
  • “I met my husband at BCG. We moved to the London office together, and then they wanted us to open up a Chicago office. We were married on the way back from London and moved to Chicago the day after the wedding.”
  • On the cover of MIT Management magazine, 1995
    “I was the first female corporate officer, commuting from Chicago to Houston and New York.”
  • With husband Bram Bluestein (center) and Maria Bartiromo (right) in Davos, Switzerland, 2013
  • “It was a chance to run a publicly traded company. When I joined, revenue was $3.7 billion; now it’s $5.7 billion. On my board, we have 40 percent women.”