Richard Montanez is a brilliant businessman who rose from the position of a janitor to becoming a CEO. His story seems straight out of Hollywood. It is quite interesting to know his past. He is known for having invented the flavor of Cheetos which is popular worldwide with the name Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Read till the end to know the story behind this businessman and about your favorite snack!
About Richard Montanez
Richard Montanez is the former Vice President of PepsiCo. Having served for 42 years he retired in the year 2023. Being a Latino who is known for his visionary leadership, he also teaches people about leadership skills.
He is also the author of two books– Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive (2023) and A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie (2013). Richard is a great motivational speaker who is invited to speak at Universities like Harvard, along with firms like Walmart and Target. Richard has also been featured in Good Morning America, Fortune, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and others.
Early Life And Family
Having been born in Mexico, Richard grew up in a labor camp in California. His father was a Mexican immigrant. Richard has ten siblings. They used to live in poor conditions in a small apartment with a single bedroom.
Richard dropped out of school earlier owing to his struggles with basic reading and writing. Then he worked marginal jobs. In 1976, when he was 18, his friend informed him of the vacancy at Frito-Lay. His journey with the company started with his appointment at the post of a janitor.
The idea of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos came to him when one day a machine at the company broke and there were some unseasoned Cheetos. Richard took them and at home, he seasoned them with chili powder taking the idea from the Mexican grilled corn vendor nearby who used to use lime and chili. Thus, he made a new Cheetos flavor inspired by Mexican food. When he let his friends and family try the Cheetos, they loved the flavor and encouraged Richard to take the idea ahead.
After the CEO agreed to Richard’s presentation of flavor, he worked hard to groom the idea. The company loved his product and that’s how Richard founded the very popular Flamin’ Hot line of Cheetos.
Richard is happily married to Judy Montanez. They both live in Rancho Cucamonga currently. They share three sons.
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His Career And Major Milestones
Before his retirement in 2023, Richard used to lead PepsiCo as the Vice President. He worked in sales and marketing across many North American divisions of the company. During his career, he has served various roles in PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. He has also worked with KFC and Taco Bell. In 2015, he became the first Latino to become a Board Member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Hispanic Lifestyle Magazine declared him as “one of the most influential Hispanics in corporate America.”
A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Him
- His future wife filled the Frito-Lay application for Richard since he couldn’t read or write properly.
- Richard also runs a foundation called Onelite, and sends huge amounts of food to thousands of families in need.
- There’s a controversy behind the origin of Flamin Hot Cheetos as some consider Lynne Greenfeld to be the original inventor.
Richard Montanez Net Worth 2023
His total net worth is around 14 million dollars. His primary source of income has been from being the CEO of PepsiCo. He also earns enough from his career in teaching leadership and motivational speaking.