Jorge Carlos 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. He is married to Angelica Fuentes.
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 ownership of the football team Club Deportivo Guadalajara (popularly known as Chivas) in 2002. Shortly after he took ownership in Mexico, while attending the 2003 U.S. Major League Soccer All-Star Game, he announced intentions to expand Chivas to MLS.
Vergara and MLS inaugurated Chivas USA in 2004, and the team played its first official season in 2005 with StubHub Center in the Los Angeles area as its home stadium. Chivas USA was initially successful; in its first five seasons of operation, the team recorded four straight MLS playoff appearances. Both performance and attendance declined sharply after 2009. In August 2012, Vergara and his wife became sole owners of the club, buying out former partners Antonio and Lorenzo Cué.
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. The team, no longer affiliated with Vergara, has the working name Los Angeles Football Club, and is tentatively expected to begin playing in 2018.
- "Chivas USA holding its own in Southern California market - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Baxter, Kevin (May 30, 2013). "When will MLS save Chivas USA from itself?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- "Vergara, Fuentes become sole owners of Chivas USA". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- MLS Communications. "Major League Soccer purchases Chivas USA". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved February 20, 2014.