Manuel Jorge Cutillas
1932 – 2013
Manuel Jorge Cutillas was born in Cuba on March 1, 1932, and was the great-great grandson of Don Facundo Bacardi, the founder of the Bacardi company. Mr. Cutillas left Cuba in 1960 after the Castro regime confiscated the family business, and chose to make The Bahamas his family home.
Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Cutillas began his career in Cuba in 1955 as an Assistant Distillery Superintendent at Bacardi. He steadily rose within the company, becoming Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Ltd. in 1997. He retired from that position in 2000, but continued to serve as a Director of several Bacardi-Martini companies. He was also a Director of Grupo Televisa S.A., Chairman of the University of Miami’s International Advisory Board, and a Fellow of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award World Fellowship.
Mr. Cutillas joined the Board of Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. in 1990. He became its President in 1996 and assumed the Chairmanship in 2002, after his great friend, Harry C. Moore, Sr., stepped down to become Honorary Chairman. The opening of the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at The University of The Bahamas in 2011 was among Mr. Cutillas’ proudest moments at the Foundations.
Mr. Cutillas was especially passionate about empowering young Bahamians to pursue an education, whether at The University of The Bahamas or abroad. He always displayed the greatest sense of pride in the Lyford Cay Scholars’ many talents, achievements and commitment to an honest and better life.
In recent years, Mr. Cutillas championed the young students of FOCUS — the Foundations’ school enrichment initiative — whom he saw as being the future leaders of the country. He particularly enjoyed visiting with the children and delighted in their progress, hunger for knowledge and respect for one another.
A true gentleman, Mr. Cutillas was perhaps most well liked for his warmth and kindness, unwavering consideration of others, and remarkably unassuming nature. With his can-do attitude and optimistic disposition, Mr. Cutillas frequently acted as an anchor and inspiration to others during challenging times. He had learnt early on how to overcome even the most daunting obstacles, and simply refused to give into them. Mr. Cutillas was deeply involved in and supported countless civic and philanthropic organisations, including many devoted to the preservation of the environment in his beloved adoptive country.
He was named the Honorary Mexican Consul to The Bahamas in 1979, and was Dean of the Honorary Consular Corps of The Bahamas at the time of his passing. In 2000, he was also awarded an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Miami. Mr. Cutillas had many hobbies, including golfing and fishing. An avid boater, he was never happier than when being able to spend time with friends and family in The Exumas, which he called his favourite place in the world.
Mr. Cutillas was universally loved, respected and admired. His countless contributions to the positive development of The Bahamas will forever be a part of this country’s history.