Jorge Vergara Madrigal (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxorxe βerˈɣaɾa]) (born 3 March 1955) is a Mexican businessman and film producer. Vergara is a billionaire with a net worth of approximately $1.5 billion. He is the founder of Grupo Omnilife, one of the top 200 corporations in Mexico. In addition to its health products business, Grupo Omnilife owns the football clubs Club Deportivo Guadalajara and Chivas Hefei, including a fleet of private jets and real estate.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Vergara once sold tacos on Mexican streets. Back in the 1980s Vergara sold condominiums and timeshares in Manzanillo, Mexico, where he met and began working with John Peterson.
When Peterson became a Herbalife salesperson, he recruited Vergara and together they began selling Herbalife products in Mexico. Since Herbalife had not received Mexican government approval to sell their products, Peterson and Vergara had to smuggle the products into the country. After six months of smuggling the products into Mexico, Herbalife took notice and began the process of getting government approval. Vergara was asked to help get the Herbalife products approved by the Mexican government and was instrumental in helping Herbalife's founder, Mark Hughes deal with the Mexican Government. This gave Vergara insight into how a multi-level company profits and expands into other countries. Vergara was partners with Roger Daley, Jim Fobair and Charlie Ragus. With already the 51% of the company, Vergara acquired the rest of Omnitrition at the end of the deal with his U.S. partners and took the whole control of Omnitrition de Mexico. Since its foundation in 1991, the privately owned corporation has grown from one company, Omnilife de Mexico, to comprise nineteen companies. Today, approximately 5.2 million people distribute Omnilife products in 22 countries, while the company has reached annual sales of nearly $4.2 billion.
Vergara has been the director of Omnilife de Mexico since 1991.
In 1999 Vergara met film director Alfonso Cuarón while seeking out filmmakers for his corporate movies. Cuarón, however, was more interested in filming Y tu mamá también, and gave Vergara the screenplay. A known lover of films, Vergara read it and right away proposed that they begin production. In the process they established a production company Producciones Anhelo that would go on to co-produce Guillermo del Toro's El Espinazo Del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone), along with Pedro Almodóvar's El Deseo and del Toro's Tequila Gang. Anhelo also produced Sebastián Cordero's Crónicas.
Vergara has always guaranteed his directors creative freedom and the best possible production quality. In 2002, Variety named him one of its Ten Producers to Watch. For the 2004 edition of the Guadalajara Film Festival, Vergara created the JVC Award for Best Director, which was given to Fernando Eimbcke for his feature debut Temporada de patos.
Vergara gained Club Deportivo Guadalajara ownership in 2002. His goal from the get-go was to expand the Chivas brand any and every way possible. Not long after he took ownership in Mexico, while attending the 2003 Major League Soccer All-Star Game at the Home Depot Center, he sat in a pregame press conference and boldly announced intentions to expand Chivas to MLS.
There was a mixed reaction to the announcement, immediate excitement around the high-profile international investor's interest in a league fraught with struggle in contrast to reticence about adding another team in Southern California. Eventually, Vergara and MLS inaugurated Chivas USA in 2004. The Red and White played its first official season in 2005. In five seasons of operation, Chivas USA recorded four straight MLS playoff appearances. Chivas USA, as of late, has had little success on the pitch as well as in the stands.
Vergara has been very controversial in regards to the multiple ownership of football clubs.
On February 20, 2014, Major League Soccer purchased Chivas USA from Vergara. They announced plans to sell to a buyer dedicated to keeping the club in Los Angeles, as well as a plan to rebrand the club in time for the 2015 MLS season.
In 2001, Vergara signed a partnership through EDUCARE to collaborate with the National Council for Science and Technology. Since this partnership began, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than 30 projects related to health, wellness and food sciences. His philanthropic activities with the community also led to his establishment of Fundación por los Niños del Planeta.
Jorge Vergara is a founding member of the Americas Business Council Foundation (ABC), alongside his wife Angelica Fuentes, as well as Guillermo Romo, President of Grupo Mega, and Emilio Azcárraga Jean, CEO of Televisa.
- "Chivas USA holding its own in Southern California market - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- MLS Communications. "Major League Soccer purchases Chivas USA". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved February 20, 2014.