CLEAN BREAK

Mexico 2019 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

Kimberly-Clark is taking advantage of Mexico's geography and domestic demand to develop a market for hygienic products there.

Claudio González
BIOGRAPHY
Claudio González started his career in Kimberly-Clark Mexico and was CEO and chairman of the board from 1973 to 2007. He studied chemical engineering at Stanford and has over 60 years in the company. González is also a member of the board of directors for several companies such as Fondo Mexico, Grupo Carso, Alfa, Grupo Mexico, and Bolsa Mexicana and GIS..

How will the change in vision of the administration impact doing business in Mexico?

There is no question this government will be different from any of Mexico's previous ones. We have had other transitions such as at the end of the 1990s, when the government changed parties for the first time in 70 years. The government has gone back and forth between these two parties (PRI and PAN) since then, though this election is different. It is starting to become fairly evident that the emphasis on social aspects will be significantly stronger in the new administration. That is in fact beneficial in many ways, and we are excited to see how this new program to help young people works out. We are extremely involved in it and excited to help make it work and offer something that will contribute to creating more employment in the country; however, it is still too early to see how things will go.

In what ways will the renegotiation of NAFTA affect the economy?

We are currently concerned about how willing this new administration will be in continuing to strengthen the openness of the Mexican economy; however, the fact that the new president had the opportunity to state that he is not in favor of a new free trade agreement during the NAFTA renegotiations but did not is extremely encouraging. It would be hard to imagine a growing economy that can achieve its full potential without being open, especially in the 21st century.

What global trends is the company foreseeing to change demand for its products?

Adult care products will be the product of the future because many economies in the world are rapidly aging. Japan is the first country in the world today that sells more adult than baby diapers. Advances in medicine and technology help extend people's lives from their early 80s to their 90s and even 100s. People are also more environmentally aware and active than before, and we are helping our clients such as McDonalds reduce their carbon footprint and meet consumer needs by offering non-bleached napkins. If one does not innovate, you can't succeed.

What is your future vision for the company and expansion goals for the next year?

We will focus on growth, growth, and more growth. We still have opportunities in the markets we cover and will continue to innovate our current portfolio while actively looking for opportunities to expand it. In the last three years, Kimberly-Clark Mexico has done well in the soaps segment, which no other Kimberly-Clark company has achieved in the world. We are the leader in liquid soaps in Mexico, and this sector is growing the most. Despite the challenges before us, we are upbeat because Mexico continues to be one of the most exciting opportunities in the world. It has a large and growing middle class that participates more every day, and people are ready to continue growing and find ways of making our country better. We have major challenges and, at the same time, major opportunities and the ability to find solutions to our problems and take advantage of these opportunities. We are multi-channel and multi-sector and offer products to both the consumer as well as professional sector, namely hotels, offices, and the McDonald's of the world.