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Woods Staton

Guest Speaker

Professional affiliation

Executive Chairman, Arcos Dorados 

Full Biography

Woods Staton is the Executive Chairman of Arcos Dorados (NYSE: ARCO), the world's largest McDonald's franchisee. Arcos Dorados employs more than 95,000 people across 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, operating more than 2000 restaurants, with revenues of more than US$4 billion. Born in Medellín, Colombia, Mr Staton's business life has always been involved with consumer goods in Latin America. His grandfather founded Panamco, which became one of Coca-Cola's largest  bottlers in the world with operations in seven Latin American countries. After many years in the family business Woods branched out starting his own entrepreneurial career as McDonald's joint venture partner opening the first McDonalds restaurant in Argentina.

Later he became President of the South America Division of McDonald's Corporation. In 2007, McDonald's Corporation sold its operations in Latin America to a consortium of investors that Woods put together and the company was named Arcos Dorados. In April of 2011 the Private Equity investors sold their positions in a successful IPO on the NYSE. Mr. Staton is Chairman of the Board of Ronald McDonald House Charities Latin America, dedicated to supporting families of children fighting pediatric cancer. He is co-founder of Endeavor Argentina, promoting entrepreneurship as well as a founding partner of Ashoka Argentina, a global organization committed to investing in innovative solutions through social entrepreneurship in order to help solve tough problems. 

Mr. Staton holds an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and a Bachelor's degree in economics from Emory University in Atlanta. He is on the Global Board of Advisors of the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington D.C., as well as on the Chairman's International Advisory Council of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and serves on the International Advisory Board of Itaú Unibanco Holding S.A. He currently serves as the Chair for the Latin American Program's Advisory Board at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.