Goya Silences Its Controversial CEO

For decades, Goya Foods products have been a staple in Latinx households — from canned beans to prepared spice mixes and sauces. A family-owned company founded in 1936 by Spanish immigrant Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina, the company has said its “story is as much about the importance of family as it is about achieving the American dream.”

However, in the summer of 2020, that dream turned into a nightmare for the company when its current CEO, Robert “Bob” Unanue visited the White House and called then-President Donald Trump a “blessed” leader. The statement sparked an outcry from the company’s customer base and calls to #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were soon all over social media, with everyone from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to the Hispanic Federation (which called the comments “both painful and insulting”) stepping into the debate. 

Six months later, Unanue is back in the news. In an interview with Fox Business, the CEO questioned the legitimacy of the Biden Presidency, saying he won “an unverified election” and also proclaiming that there was “a war coming” now that Trump was “out of the way.”

Reaction to Unanue’s interview was quick. According to CNN Business, the privately owned company which employs more than 4,000 people has voted to censure its controversial leader. CNN reporters Maria Santana and Chris Isidore said “Unanue will no longer be allowed to speak to the media without the board’s permission,” adding that “this is a ‘full stop’ on Unanue speaking to the press, not only about politics, but also about the company itself.”

While Santana and Isidore reported that “a majority of Goya shareholders favor removing Unanue altogether,” family dynamics within the company have kept that from happening so far they said, quoting a source within the company who wished to remain anonymous.

“The company has never been political or politicized,” the insider is reported as saying. “He’s gone from bad CEO to CEO that has imperiled the future of the company and endangered the lives of some of the shareholders. His statements are insulting and dangerous.”

 

D.I. Fast Facts

2.26 million

Number of Americans who consumed 8 packages or more of Goya products per month in 2020
Statistica

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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