Making the Best of Experience
Last year Eduardo Nuñez retired after more than a 30-year career at ExxonMobil preceded by a decade at IBM, but that doesn’t mean the former energy sector executive has any intention of just taking it easy in retirement. Instead, he has launched two new ventures, one of which is aimed at increasing the competitiveness of small and medium companies in developing economies.
To start their new venture, Blue Wave, Nuñez and his co-founder Alma Del Toro, a former BP executive, will be taking their corporate experience and providing self-assessment and development services to small and medium Oil & Gas suppliers in Mexico. Blue Wave will kick off its activities in November with a workshop for 50 companies in Tabasco.
“it’s a win-win situation for the companies, the local governments, which want to promote economic development, and the IOCs (International Oil Companies),” states Nuñez.
Whether fairly or not, IOCs have long been criticized for extracting natural resources from developing countries without making a real contribution to their economic development. Unfortunately, part of the problem is that it can be mission impossible for local suppliers to match the quality and standards of companies from the US and Western Europe, when the international requirements are not clearly stated in one single site.
This is where Blue Wave wants to help. “These are companies that cannot afford the services of a consulting firm like Accenture,” says Nuñez. “We want to provide them with an affordable alternative.”
For just over $1,200 per year, Blue Wave will provide companies with an assessment of their capabilities, a list of prioritized gaps and a mitigation plan. Training, best practices, tools and additional consulting will also be offered at affordable rates.
It would be hard to find someone better suited than Nuñez to know what IOCs look for in their suppliers. Prior to his retirement in 2018, he served as ExxonMobil’s General Manager of Global Procurement, supervising a staff of 1,500. Previously he served as the company’s head of procurement for the Americas. He also held procurement positions in Tokyo and Brussels.
Clearly proud of his accomplishments in ExxonMobil, and grateful for the growth opportunities the oil major offered as a company committed to inclusion and diversity, Nuñez believes there are five factors that make professional advancement possible. These are ethics, professionalism, a long-term commitment to the organization, being a team player and leadership.
Despite his extensive procurement experience, Nuñez acknowledges that he faces new challenges with his start-up venture. “You have to do everything for yourself,” he says, from arranging meetings to putting together presentations to managing routine administrative matters. It’s a big change, but one he seems to be enjoying.
To keep himself even more busy, Nuñez will assume the Presidency of ATCC in April 2020. Building on what ATCC has accomplished in its first three years will also be challenging, he says.
“The Chamber has accomplished a lot and that is thanks to all the work done by the people who founded it and others, all of whom did it on a voluntary basis. The Chamber has agreements with more than one hundred organizations. We have chapters in Neuquén, Buenos Aires, and Dallas.”
Another sign of the Chamber’s growth, he says, is the move toward a more formal process for planning and budgeting for the coming year. Like all start-up organizations working with limited resources and finances, he explains, the Chamber began operating on an ad hoc basis. That is changing, however, and in the fourth quarter of 2019 the organization will finalize and adopt a plan and budget for the 2020-21 period.
Asked what he hopes to accomplish when he becomes President, Nuñez cites several goals, including strengthening the new chapter the Chamber is opening in Austin; continuing the Chambers expansion into new sectors like technology, health care and transportation and logistics; and building stronger relations with stakeholders.
It was many years ago when Nuñez and wife, Adriana, left Argentina with their son, Santiago, and daughter, Maria. Adriana works as a math professor at the Lone Star College System and the children are grown now and have taken different paths in life. Santiago got his MBA at the Wharton Business School and is now working private equity in New York. Maria is wrapping up her master’s degree at Rice University and works as a teacher and social worker.
“That’s the way it is with children,” he says. “As much as they have in common, they often go in different directions.”
A year after retiring from a long and accomplished corporate career, Eduardo Nuñez is taking a new direction, too.
By Dan Krishock