Santiago Lopez is a first generation Colombian-American who was raised in Boston and has lived and worked in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and various regions of the US.His expertise lies in understanding diverse cultures and customizing marketing and product strategies that engender new growth.
For 20 years, Santiago has been actively involved in international business development throughout the US and LatAm, primarily for U.S.-based Food & Beverage and CPG companies. At Abitec, a division of Associated British Foods, he served as Manager for the northeastern United States and was later promoted to Business Development Manager for the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.Subsequently, Santiago led business development efforts in Latin America for Dawn Foods Co., the largest grain-based foods manufacturer/distributor in the US, and introduced the “donut” to Brazil through food retail channels.Santiago led Dawn’s efforts to successfully acquire 3 businesses in Argentina, Puerto Rico and Brazil. He also forged strategic commercial relationships with international retailers Walmart, Carrefour and Ahold, andestablished a regional office in Brazil. Under his direction, new revenues grew to more than $20 million.
Eager to combine his entrepreneurial and professional interests, Santiago He built a three store specialty food business aimed at facilitating the exchange of government vouchers for food by various ethnic groups in Florida.The stores grew successfully and were sold within two years. Shortly after, Santiago became President of a $50 million, 6 unit, Pan-Asian, retail chain in greater Boston where he managed 350 employees via 8 direct reports. His primary focus was engaging the diverse Asian community, capturing the rapidly growing Latino population and attracting the mainstream ‘foodie’ segment.Santiago led chain-wide efforts to reengineer operational systems and orchestrated the seamless closure of a store while opening another in a more optimal location. Sales for the new store rose quickly by 30%.
ORGUYO, a full-line apparel brand created by Santiago and aimed at the 62 million US Latino population, pivoted to become a houseware brand featuring multiple-piece bed sets. In 2014, Santiago’s brand,Casa Miawas introduced at Walmart.com and was later adopted by 200 Walmart stores throughout the US for one year. Subsequently, the 14 styles of bed sets and sheets became available at Kohl’s, Wayfair, Burlington and Ross stores.
At IXL, Santiago is responsible for leading international business development efforts by managing a team of highly specialized consultants. Santiago and his team work with companies throughout Latin America to launch bold and innovative initiatives that drive new growth and income. They have successfully worked with companies in many regions of Colombia, including Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena. Santiago leads IXL team members on the ground in all those markets, enabling them to work side-by-side with companies to build innovation muscle within their own organizations.
Santiago holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Boston College’s School of Management and an MBA in International Business from Bentley College.He is fluent in both English and Spanish and has a conversational command of Portuguese.Santiago currently resides in the metro-west region of greater Boston.