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Vincente Fox: 1942—: Politician; Businessman

Born Into Privilege

Vincente Fox Quesada was born on July 2, 1942 in Mexico City, the second of nine children. His mother, Mercedes Quesada, was born in Spain and immigrated to Mexico as an infant. His father, José Luis Fox, was a prosperous landowner of Irish decent. Fox grew up on his parent's 1,100 acre ranch in San Francisco del Rincón in the Guanajuato region, located in central Mexico. Although he dreamed of becoming a bull-fighter, his parents directed him toward a business education. Fox attended Catholic schools in Mexico, and spent a year at Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin where he learned English.

Although he was born into wealth, the circumstances of Guanajuanto's poor made a lasting impression on Fox. He told Andrew Reding of the World Policy Journal, "all my friends were poor; I went to their humble homes to eat and sleep, and be friends, something that is forever imprinted on my heart." His Jesuit education also affected his worldview. "They teach you to serve your community and country; to work for—and be for—others," Fox told Reding.

At a Glance . . .

Born Vincente Fox Quesada, July 2, 1942, in Mexico City, Mexico; son of Mercedes Quesada (a homemaker) and José Luis Fox (a rancher); married Lillian de la Concha, 1975, divorced 1991; children: two daughters, Ana Cristina and Paulina, and two sons, Vincente and Rodrigo, all adopted; married Martha Sahagun, 2001. Education: Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, bachelor's degree in business administration, 1964; Harvard University School of Business, M.B.A., 1974.

Career: Coca-Cola de Mexico, route salesman, 1964-71, transferred to headquarters in Mexico City, worked in marketing; 1971, chief executive, Mexico, 1975-79; returned to Guanajuato to manage family boot manufacturing and vegetable exporting business with brothers, 1980-88; served one term in the Mexican legislature, 1988-91; elected governor of Guanajuato, 1995; elected president of Mexico, 2000.

Awards: Civic Man of the Year, Alianza Civica (Civic Alliance), 1991.

Adresses: Office—Grupo Fox, Venustiano Carranza 705, Leon, Gto, Mexico.

Unlike many Mexican elites, many of whom come to study in the United States, Fox chose to attend Universidad Iberoamericana, a Jesuit institution located in Mexico City. After earning a business degree in 1964, he took a job with Coca-Cola de Mexico as a route supervisor. He worked in six different cities during the next seven years, and moved to the corporate headquarters in Mexico City in 1971.

"At the university, they taught me to reflect and to analyze," Fox recalled to Sam Dillon of the New York Times. "But working at Coca-Cola was my second university education. I learned that the heart of a business is out in the field, not in the office. I learned strategy, marketing, financial management, optimization of resources. I learned not to accept anything but winning. I learned an iron discipline for getting results." He rose to marketing director, and in 1975, he was named chief executive of Coca-Cola de Mexico, a position he held for four years. He also married Lillian de la Concha and they adopted four children: Ana Cristina, Paulina, Vicente, and Rodrigo; the couple divorced in 1991.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyVincente Fox: 1942—: Politician; Businessman Biography - Born Into Privilege, Challenged Mexico's Ruling Party, Launched Presidential Campaign, Attempted To Enact Reforms