Watson named Cemex USA president

Sources: Cemex S.A.B. de C.V., Monterrey, Mexico; CP staff

As part of a global management realignment around six regional units, effective April 12, Cemex has named Karl Watson, Jr., president of Cemex USA, according to a statement released by the company. Based in West Palm Beach, he had served as Eastern region president, and is the leading executive to have made the transition from Rinker Materials Corp. to Cemex USA.

Watson, who just two weeks ago was named chairman of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association as well, will be succeeding Gilberto Perez, who had been Cemex USA president since 1998. During his tenure, Perez led the integration of Southdown—the largest cement producer in the United States at the time, purchased in 2000—effectively quadrupling the size of Cemex in America. In 2005, he also directed the integration of RMC USA into Cemex, creating the largest construction materials manufacturer and distributor in the country. Two years later, he oversaw the integration of Rinker Materials.

In addition to Watson’s appointment, Cemex has announced new or additional responsibilities for Juan Romero, president of Cemex Mexico, who will also oversee Global Technology; Jaime Elizondo, president of Cemex South America and Caribbean, who will also oversee Global Procurement; Ignacio Madridejos, president of Cemex Northern Europe, who will also oversee Global Energy and Sustainability;

Jaime Muguiro, president of Cemex Mediterranean; and, Joaquin Estrada, president of Cemex Asia, who will also oversee Global Trading.

The company also designated three executives to lead corporate staff functions: Fernando Gonzalez, executive vice president of finance and administration, who will directly assume the role of chief financial officer, succeeding Rodrigo Trevino, who will step down as part of the reshuffle; Juan Pablo San Agustin, executive vice president for strategic planning and business development; and, Luis Hernandez, executive vice president for organization and human resources. Cemex’s statement did not indicate if Perez, Tervino or others involved in the reorganization has been reassigned or are no longer with the company.

These nine executives will report to Cemex Chairman Lorenzo Zambrano, joining him on a 10-member Executive Committee. After addressing challenges from the global materials industry downturn, Zambrano noted, “We need to move rapidly to create value for all our stakeholders. This new executive team has the leadership skills, the vision and the experience to do exactly that.”

In addition, two long-serving executives are leaving their current operating functions and will continue to work for the company in other roles. Francisco Garza, current president for Cemex Americas, will now serve as vice chairman of the board of Cemex Mexico, chairman of the newly created Cemex Latin America advisory board, and will continue supporting Cemex’s high-level public affairs activities, both in Mexico and in Latin America. Also, Víctor Romo, current executive vice president of administration, will continue to participate in the company as advisor to the chairman and coordinate board committees, as well as support other strategic initiatives.