MEXICO CITY – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, USA, has named Alejandro Villanueva to be its new regional director for programs in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Villanueva, a Mexico City resident, began his new duties on August 3, 2009, providing leadership and strategic direction for programming initiatives in the region. In addition to planning and management responsibilities, he will supervise and coordinate the work of staff assigned to the region.
"Alejandro brings significant experience and expertise to our ongoing work in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Sterling Speirn, the Kellogg Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. "His background in business, communication and marketing will help advance our efforts to improve opportunities for children, families and communities throughout the region."
Villanueva previously was marketing director at AXA in Mexico, and was responsible for advertising, strategic marketing, customer management and various other projects. He also was head of Communication and Corporate Affairs at the ING Group of Mexico City, a position that included designing and implementing a strategy for corporate philanthropy.
Prior to holding these positions, he worked as engagement manager at McKinsey & Company in the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, India, Morocco, Mexico, Central America and South America. He also represented 12 suburbs as city counselor for the municipality of Alvaro Obregon in Mexico City, an elected position that he won as an independent candidate.
"These broad experiences have given Alejandro a solid connection to communities throughout the region and beyond, as well as a working knowledge of how to effectively communicate with people and with the makers of policies that affect their lives," said Gail McClure, vice president for programs at the Kellogg Foundation. "He has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations and government agencies, and has consulted with them on a variety of social projects that have improved opportunities for residents of Mexico."
"Alejandro has maintained a strong nonprofit focus throughout his career in business and has extensive professional networks in the public, private and social health arenas," said James McHale, the foundation’s senior vice president for programs. "As a result, he understands what people and communities need to prosper and to create conditions that propel vulnerable children to success, which is central to our mission. We look forward to him helping us chart a new course for our work in Latin America."
Villanueva founded CIVIX, a nonprofit organization that provides strategy counseling to social projects. In addition to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, they have supported Harvard University, The World Resources Institute, Ashoka and the Mexican Health Foundation. Among other things, he has developed collaborative initiatives to provide low-income families in communities with affordable and relevant products and services.
Villanueva holds a master’s degree from the DUXX Graduate School of Business Leadership in Monterrey, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He is a frequent lecturer at universities and events sponsored by various social and business organizations.
Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.
The Foundation is currently in the process of retooling its programming in Latin America and the Caribbean. Plans are to focus for the next five years on southern Mexico and Central America, with selective work in the Caribbean. Some state, national and international work will be done, driven by local and national issues that relate to Kellogg Foundation priorities. Specific information will be announced at a later date.