President George W Bush has picked the chief of food giant Kellogg to become the US's new Commerce Secretary.
Mr Gutierrez must now wait for Senate confirmation
Cuban-born Carlos Gutierrez is to take over from Don Evans, one of the cabinet members who resigned after Mr Bush's 2 November re-election.
Mr Gutierrez, 51, is a 29-year veteran of Kellogg, becoming chief executive in 1999 and chairman a year later.
If confirmed by the Senate, among Mr Gutierrez' duties will be overseeing the trade embargo against Cuba.
Earlier this year, the US government tightened its sanctions, limiting visits to relatives in Cuba to once every three years - rather than the once a year which had previously been allowed.
It also cut permitted spending to $50 a day from $167 - and cut back the allowance for remitting money from the US to Cuba.
At the same time, government grants to Cuban dissident groups were increased.
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Announcing Mr Gutierrez' nomination, Mr Bush told reporters that his choice was "a great American success story".
"He learned English from a bellhop in a Miami hotel and later became an American citizen," Mr Bush said, adding that Mr Gutierrez had risen from driving a truck for Kellogg in Mexico City to running the company.
Mr Gutierrez came to the US in 1959, the year of the Cuban revolution, when he was six years old.
As Fidel Castro took power from the former Batista regime, Mr Gutierrez's family was on holiday in Miami where they elected to remain.
Mr Gutierrez retains close ties to Florida, the centre of gravity for Cubans in the US.
He gave $7,000 in the past four years to Cuban-born Republican members of Congress in Florida, and $4,000 to the US-Cuba Democracy political fund - comparatively little compared to the energetic fund-raising of his predecessor at the Commerce Department.
Kellogg, meanwhile, gave $22,000 to Republican Party funds over the same period.
The company made a profit of $787m in 2003, up 9% on the year before. Sales rose 6% to $8.8bn.
If the Senate confirms his nomination, Mr Gutierrez will be replaced at the helm of Kellogg by a 30-year company veteran, 58-year-old James Jenness.