Argentina’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fernando Oris de Roa?

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Fernando Oris de Roa

Fernando Julio Oris de Roa, a wealthy agribusinessman who developed an interest in public policy, presented his credentials as Argentina’s ambassador to the United States to President Donald Trump on January 24, 2018. It’s his first such posting.


Oris de Roa was born November 4, 1952. His great-grandfather, Lino Oris de Roa (1845-1920), emigrated to Argentina from Spain and became an Army officer to helped conquer to Araucanian people in the Patagonian region in the 1870s.


Fernando Oris de Roa began his career at Continental Cereals in 1970, and rose to become its president in 1987. He left the company in 1992 and the following year led a group of investors who purchased San Miguel, a failing lemon producer and processor. Oris de Roa turned the company into the largest lemon producer in the world, but his methods made enemies in the United States. In 2000, he made a deal with U.S. citrus grower Sunkist to export Argentine lemons to the United States and have them labeled and marketed by Sunkist. This did not sit well with lemon growers in California and Arizona who saw their market share and profits threatened.


In 1999, Oris de Roa co-wrote the book Emotional Solvency: Learning to Generate Well-Being with María Carmen Gear and Ernesto César Liendo. A few years later, he took time out from his career to earn a Master’s in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2003. Following that, Oris de Roa founded the poultry company Avex and set up a chicken growing and processing plant to concentrate on the export market. At its height, the Avex plant killed 75,000 chickens a day. He was also the president of the poultry company Los Valientes.


Oris de Roa served on the board of directors of Patagonia Gold before resigning in 2006. He became non-executive director of Orocobre Limited in June 2010, an Australian company that mines lithium and borax in Argentina.


Oris de Roa was made director of Expofrut, a pear and apple processor, in 2011. That year, a seasonal worker for Expofrut, Daniel Solano, disappeared after being arrested. Solano had protested labor fraud at Expofrut in which the company was accused of withholding half of workers’ salaries. President Maurici Macri’s appointment of Oris de Roa’s as ambassador in November 2017 was criticized because of his ties to the still-unsolved disappearance of Solano.


In 2011, Oris de Roa founded Investors Toolbox, a venture capital and private equity firm. He created Bravo Charabon, another agricultural firm, in 2013. He was director of Advantage Lithium until January 2018.


Oris de Roa ventured out of the business world in 2016 to become under secretary of investments for the city of Buenos Aires, serving until the following year.


Oris de Roa married Mercedes de Campos in 1974. They have two daughters and a son and 10 grandchildren.

-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Official Biography

El Decisivo Rol del Bisabuelo de Fernando Oris De Roa, Nuevo Embajador En EEUU, en la Derrota Mapuche en el Siglo XIX (Identidad Correntina)


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