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LATINOS • COMMUNITY • ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
Luis Villanueva is an American-Venezuelan media entrepreneur, who has worked in international banking, finance and entertainment industries. Villanueva, an economist with an MBA degree, is presently the Chairman and CEO of SOMOS GROUP, a Miami-based entertainment group of companies formed by SOMOSTV (a pay-tv production and distribution company), SOMOS Distribution (a global content distribution entity), SOMOS Production (an independent TV production enterprise), SOMOS Next (a direct to consumer digital content distribution company) and SOMOS Films (in charge of feature films’ production).
Mr. Villanueva has been a recipient of two prestigious honors from the Venezuelan government: the Order of Diego de Losada in its First Class (awarded for outstanding merit in the areas of work, urban development, culture and science, contributing to the progress of the country) and the Order of Francisco de Miranda in its Second Class (recognizing Venezuelan citizens and foreigners who have contributed to the sciences, progress of the country, to the humanities or who have exemplified outstanding merits). In March of 2002 Mr. Villanueva was honored with the keys to the city of Miami, a merit given by the Miami-Dade County in Florida, for his leadership role in Venevision International’s contribution to the arts and culture of the local community.
Luis Villanueva sat on the Directory of several international companies registered on different stock exchanges, among them Claxson (XSON), Cervecerias Peruanas Backus & Johnston and was a member of the Board of the (Latin Grammy’s). He is a member of several organizations such as the International Emmys, CEAL (Consejo Empresarial de America Latina, an organization of Latin-American entrepreneurs), the Latin American Forum of Florida International University (a group of 40 high level executives) and the Entrepreneurial Council for Institutional Development of the Universidad Austral in Argentina. He has been for several years a jury of the Premios Platino, an Iberoamerican film award organized by EGEDA (an organization that represents the rights of film producers from Spanish speaking countries).
Villanueva’s career started in the financial sector, where he rose from entry positions to become Finance Manager of “Banco Consolidado”, one of the main banking institutions in Venezuela. In 1982 he joined the Cisneros Group. His career in the Latin American media conglomerate included positions in front of Operating Units (Chief Operating Officer of Venevision Television Network- Channel 4 in Venezuela; President of Venevision-Chile and Corporate Staff (Executive Vice-President of Finance and Corporate Development, among others). For 12 years Luis Villanueva was the President and CEO of Venevision International, diversifying this company from an international TV programming distributor to an entertainment enterprise that participated, besides its original purpose, in TV Production, Film Distribution, Pay TV channels, publishing, live events, music production and distribution, mobile content production and distribution and new media distribution outlets.
Under Luis Villanueva Venevision International became a solid entertainment company in the Spanish speaking markets internationally and in the US. It also became the first in distributing films originally produced in Spanish for the US Hispanic Market in all venues (theatrical, pay-per-view, home video, cable and free TV), launched the 24 hr. film pay TV channel VeneMovies (now ViendoMovies) and became the biggest independent television producer in South Florida.