2010 PODER ABC* Business Awards: Leadership - Lorenzo Mendoza
Lorenzo Mendoza is the CEO of Empresas Polar, the company started by his Grandfather in 1941. Polar is the Venezuela?s largest beer maker and was the creator of pre-cooked corn flour used in arepas, a staple of the Venezuelan diet. It is the country?s largest industrial conglomerate employing 30,000 workers and operating 17 plants that produce and distribute diverse products ranging from rice and vinegar to ice cream and laundry detergent. Lorenzo Mendoza has successfully guided Polar despite hostile opposition from his country?s president, Hugo Chavez. So far, Chavez has been unsuccessful in stopping Mendoza, mostly due to the Businessman?s huge popularity. This popularity stems from a firm commitment to his fellow countrymen, especially his tens of thousands of employees. Some of the programs he has started include The CANIA program, which funds a health clinic in the Caracas neighborhood of Ant?mano to treat infant malnutrition. The San Francisco Professional Training Center instructs Venezuelans who lack formal education and helps them find jobs within the Polar group. DANAC, an agriculture institute, carries out research on sustainable farming. The past decade has seen Lorenzo Mendoza emerge is the viable alternative to the leadership of Chavez. His steadfast opposition, and his firm commitment to social responsibility have made him a role model to many. According to Mendoza: ??The key to success for a business executive is to understand that we don?t work for ourselves, but for many people?.