Home » News & Speeches » Mexican businesswoman Maria Fernanda Garza elected as new ICC Chair

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is delighted to welcome Maria Fernanda Garza as its new Chair. After serving as ICC First Vice-Chair for the past two years, the small business owner from Mexico succeeds Ajay Banga as ICC Chair, making her the first woman to hold this position. 

Maria Fernanda Garza has been elected ICC Chair for a period of two years following a meeting of the ICC World Council, held yesterday in Mexico City. The ICC World Council additionally elected Philippe Varin, Chair of ICC France, as ICC First Vice-Chair, and Nayla Comair Obeid and Harsh Pati Singhania as ICC Vice-Chairs. 

Ms Garza is CEO of Orestia, a small manufacturing home improvement solutions company based in Mexico, with exports to the USMCA region, Latin-America and Asia. A lifelong advocate for small and medium businesses in her home country and around the world, she participated 19 years in the Mexican Employers’ Association (COPARMEX) and served as Vice-President for four years. 

In her new role, Ms Garza will continue to drive ICC’s mission to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. 

Commenting on her election, Maria Fernanda Garza said: “Given the magnitude of the downside risks facing the global economy, it’s absolutely vital for us to have a united business voice committed to openness, fair competition and the enablement of peace through international trade.”  

In a period that has been characterized by weak international cooperation, I believe that ICC has a vital role to play in harnessing the expertise, innovation and networks of the private sector to secure an effective response to major global challenges. Simply put, our mission to enable peace and prosperity through trade has never been more vital — and, indeed, more urgent. 

Ms Garza’s interest in improving the business environment made her a prominent business leader at a young age. She was the ICC Regional Coordinator for the Americas and a member of the governing body of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. An ICC Executive Board member since 2014, Ms Garza became the first woman to be elected as ICC First Vice-Chair in 2020. 

A strong advocate of business ethics and corporate governance standards, Ms Garza was Chair of ICC Mexico until June 2020 and is a former member of the International Affairs Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Labour and former member of the National Advisory Committee of ACLAN. She is also a Board Member of the Corporate Responsibility Alliance AliaRSE and was a member of the Corporate Responsibility Network of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD. 

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “In her new capacity as Chair, Maria Fernanda’s experience and insights as CEO of a successful small business will further reinforce the work we do and help ensure that ICC reaches the whole of the international business community. She has already contributed greatly to ICC’s work at the global, regional and national levels, and we are very happy that she will remain a strong champion for ICC and challenge us to push ahead to promote more inclusive growth and prosperity. 

Effective 14 June 2022 for a two-year term, Ms Garza succeeds Ajay Banga in the role. We take this opportunity to thank Mr Banga for his outstanding leadership of our organisation during the past two years, a particularly challenging and uncertain time for businesses worldwide. Mr Banga will continue to serve on the ICC Executive Board as Honorary Chair. 

The ICC World Council also elected six new members of the ICC Executive Board for three-year terms, strengthening gender, ethnic and geographical diversity in ICC’s leadership.  

  • Holger Bingmann, Managing Partner, Bingmann Pflüger International GmbH (Germany) 
  • Rebecca Enonchong, CEO, AppsTech and Chair of Afrilabs (Cameroon) 
  • Marjorie Yang, Chairwoman, Esquel Group (Hong Kong) 
  • Lama Al Sulaiman, Shareholder and a Board Member of Rolaco Holdings, KSA, and LUX (Saudi Arabia) 
  • Nicolas Uribe, Chair, Bogota Chamber (Colombia) 
  • Justin D’Agostino, CEO, Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong) 

Fredrik Cappelen, Chair at Dometic and Transcom (Sweden), and Candace Johnson, Vice-Chair at NorthStar Earth and Space (Luxembourg/United States) are starting second terms as members of the ICC Executive Board. 

The ICC World Council additionally ratified the election of Nicolas Uribe, President of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce and Chair of ICC Colombia, as Chair of the ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF), and of Marie-Christine Oghly, Vice-Chair in charge of International Affairs at the Paris Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as ICC WCF Deputy Chair.

View the full ICC leadership here. 

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