Mexican President-Elect Claudia Sheinbaum (center) with cabinet picks. (AP)

Mexican President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum (center) with cabinet picks. (AP)

Who's Who in Claudia Sheinbaum's Cabinet

By Carin Zissis and Chase Harrison

The Mexican president-elect has revealed cabinet picks for key secretariats, including Foreign Relations and Economy.

This article was originally published on June 20, 2024 and has since been updated.

If it seems early, it's because it is. Incoming Mexican presidents tend to announce their cabinet choices close to their inaugurations. But President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, who doesn’t take office until October 1, started announcing cabinet members right after her June 2 victory. First, on June 3, she announced that Finance Secretary Rogelio Ramírez de la O would continue in his post after she takes office. Then, on June 20, she unveiled six members of her team on June 20. She made additional announcements each Thursday after that. Several of the nominees have served in the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO.

It is anticipated that the country’s first woman president will have a gender-balanced cabinet. Mexico already has gender parity laws in place for political roles. Altagracia Gómez, who will serve as Sheinbaum’s private-sector coordinator (see below), has said the next president will take steps to extend legal requirements for parity to the cabinet.  

Who has the president-elect announced to be in her team? AS/COA Online profiles her cabinet members.

Marcelo Ebrard, Economy
Marcelo Ebrard

There has been no lack of questions about what Ebrard’s political destiny might be. The former Mexico City mayor (2006–2012) served as foreign secretary for the majority of the López Obrador government until he stepped down from the role in June 2023 in a bid to be the presidential candidate of the governing Morena party. After losing Morena’s internal competition to Sheinbaum, speculation grew that he would leave the party. 

Instead, he eventually backed Sheinbaum’s campaign, and she, in turn, has selected him to be the country’s economy secretary, which caused a peso rally.  

Ebrard, a moderate, could be viewed as a natural choice to run the Economy Ministry and the international trade discussions that will come with it—including the 2026 review of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Over the course of serving as foreign secretary, Ebrard worked closely with both the Biden and Trump administrations, making him a known entity in Washington, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election come November. In fact, in 2019 Ebrard led a team that convinced then-President Donald Trump to walk back a tariff threat if Mexico didn’t do more to control immigration flows at the two countries’ border. Given AMLO’s infrequent international travel, Ebrard often stood in for the president as Mexico’s representative at international summits while foreign secretary.

Rosa Icela Rodríguez, Interior
Rosa Icela

The former journalist will serve as Sheinbaum’s righthand woman. As interior secretary, Icela Rodríguez will play important roles such as presenting Sheinbaum’s legislative proposals to Congress and stepping in should the president have to step aside for health or other reasons. She and the president-elect have a history of working closely, given that Icela Rodríguez was Sheinbaum’s government secretary in Mexico City from 2018 to 2020. Prior to that, she held various roles in preceding government administrations in the capital, focusing on areas such as indigenous rights and social development. 

In 2020, she switched over to the federal government, first serving a three-month stint as ports coordinator before becoming AMLO’s security secretary by November that year—a position she is expected to hold for the remainder of AMLO’s term. Nicknamed “La Comandanta” (the Commander”) she is considered faithful to AMLO’s political movement.

Rogelio Ramírez de la O, Finance
Rogelio Ramírez de la O, Secretary of Finance and Public Credit

Finance secretary in the AMLO government since 2021, Ramírez de la O has had a long career working with various international organizations and in the private sector. The economist served as an advisor to AMLO’s campaign during his first presidential bid in 2006 and was his proposed finance minister during his second attempt in 2012. 

Ramírez de la O was the first cabinet member named by Sheinbaum; on the day after her June 2 electoral win, she announced he would continue in his role. His selection seeks to send a reassuring message on the economic front, although there are signs of challenges ahead. The peso has been volatile since Sheinbaum’s victory, and her government will face a rising fiscal deficit and the question of how to handle state oil firm Pemex’s massive debt. 

Ramírez de la O responded to his appointment with a pledge of financial discipline and macroeconomic stability to investors, international organizations, and rating agencies. 

Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Foreign Relations
Juan Ramón de la Fuente

De la Fuente left his role as Mexico’s permanent representative to the UN to join Sheinbaum’s campaign and, after her victory, took on the task of running her transition team

A surgeon and psychiatrist by training, de la Fuente was health secretary from 1994 through 1999, during the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo. He then became rector of UNAM, Latin America’s largest university—a position he held until 2007.

Omar García Harfuch, Security
Garcia Harfuch

During Sheinbaum’s time as mayor of the capital, García Harfuch was one of her closest allies in his role as her security chief. He drew accolades for reversing the uptick in violent crime that marked the start of her government’s tenure; under his watch, Mexico City’s homicides dropped 43 percent from 2019 to 2022, though the accuracy of the crime figures has been questioned. García Harfuch also gained fame for surviving a June 2020 ambush by hitmen that involved 400 shots on his car. The incident led his supporters to compare him to Batman. 

García Harfuch was seen as Sheinbaum’s favorite in this year’s race to govern Mexico City, but while he won Morena’s internal poll, the candidacy went to Clara Brugada, now mayor-elect, due to gender quota rules. Instead, García Harfuch ran for and won a senate seat. The alliance between Sheinbaum and García Harfuch is not without its oddities, given that her parents were part of the country’s leftist 1968 student movement while his grandfather was defense secretary during a notorious massacre of student activists that same year. Moreover, his father, Javier García Paniagua, was a hardliner in the previously hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party that Sheinbaum has railed against. 

Still, the strong poll support for his mayoral candidacy signals he is a popular choice in her cabinet and he will be playing a highly important role, given that voters viewed violence and crime as the top electoral issue. There are questions about how much impact he can actually have, given that Sheinbaum’s pledge to put the country’s immense National Guard, charged with policing, under military rather than civilian control, which would sideline his secretariat. On the other hand, he is expected to have a strong voice in who will be chosen for military leadership roles. That, combined with his record of working well with U.S. intelligence, has others optimistic that García Harfuch could improve Mexico’s security scenario.

Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, Chief of Office
Cardenas Batel

The former governor of Michoacán (2002–2008) served as a chief advisor to AMLO from 2018 to 2023.  In the intervening period, he held research positions at various international organizations in Washington DC. In addition, he headed electoral observation missions for the Organization of American States. His professional experience abroad could make him a key player in U.S.-Mexico relations. 

Sheinbaum’s selection of Cárdenas Batel is steeped in symbolism. A member of one of Mexico’s most important political dynasties of the past century, he is the grandson of President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940), a general in the Mexican Revolution who went on to lead the country and, in 1938, nationalize Mexico’s oil sector. Cárdenas Batel’s father, Cuahtémoc Cárdenas, is a three-time presidential candidate and a prominent leftist figurehead in Mexican politics whose loss in the 1988 election was widely seen as fraudulent in a landmark event for the country’s politics.

Luz Elena González Escobar, Energy
Luz Elena González Escobar

A long-serving city bureaucrat, González most recently served as the city’s financial chief during Sheinbaum’s term. A close ally, she was integral to efforts to expand the city’s tax base. While in this role, González also helped accomplish the construction of a solar array on the Mercado de Abastos, a signature project for Sheinbaum. 

As energy secretary, González will attempt to thread the needle on Sheinbaum’s energy policy, which proposes continuing AMLO’s plans for the state to develop oil and gas while also facilitating an energy transition through investment in alternative energy.  In her role, González will also sit on the boards of Pemex, the state-owned oil company, and CFE, the state-owned electric utility. Sheinbaum has articulated her intention to make both organizations more solvent and productive. 

In the June 27 press conference, González said, “The first priority will be guaranteeing energy sovereignty.”

Altagracia Gómez Sierra, Business Council Coordinator
Altagracia Gomez Sierra

Sheinbaum appointed 32-year-old business leader Gómez to serve in a new role that will make her an important liaison between the incoming cabinet and Mexico’s private sector. 

Gómez is board president of her family’s company Grupo Minsa, Mexico’s second-biggest producer of corn flour and she has been included in several rankings of influential business and women leaders. Originally from Guadalajara and a lawyer by training, Gómez was a top economic advisor to the Sheinbaum campaign. In December 2023, the future president named her coordinator for regional development in her “Dialogues for Transformation” team. Gómez has also been included in Sheinbaum’s private-sector meetings with both national and international investors.

Raquel Buenrostro Sánchez, Federal Comptroller

Another holdover from the AMLO administration, Buenrostro, has served as the country’s secretary of the economy since 2022. Before that, she helmed the country’s tax agency for two years. These positions made Buenrostro a pivotal figure in AMLO’s financial vision, including his pushes for austerity and the expansion of the country’s tax base.  Buenrostro frequently represented the government abroad, including on matters related to the USCMA.

Buenrostro has served on financial oversight positions in several agencies including Pemex, the secretary of tourism, and the government of Mexico City. She will now oversee the disbursement of the federal budget.

Alicia Bárcena, Environment and Natural Resources
Alicia Bárcena

AMLO’s foreign secretary, who has held the role for just under a year, will continue in a cabinet role in the next government, but will instead head the environmental secretariat. Before that, she was briefly Mexico’s ambassador to Chile after service as the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean from 2008 to 2022. 

A biologist, she has also held various roles and published research related to environmental issues, including founding director of the Earth Council and coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Program at UNDP.

Mario Delgado, Education
Mario Delgado

The president of Morena and a coordinator of Sheinbaum’s campaign, Delgado will serve as secretary of public education. Delgado has served in the mayoral cabinets of both AMLO and Ebrard, including as education secretary of Mexico City (2010–2012). He’s also served in the federal legislature as both a senator (2012–2018) and a federal deputy (2018–2020). 

As a senator, Delgado supported a 2013 education reformed ushered through during the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. He later criticized it and supported AMLO’s 2019 education reform that repealed aspects of the 2013 legislation, including the use of evaluations in the hiring and compensation of teachers. 

David Kershenobich, Health
David Kershenobich

An expert on liver disease, Kershenobich, 81, has served as a director of medical institutes and research centers, including sitting on the UNAM governing board. He joined Sheinbaum’s campaign in December 2023 to help craft health proposals, especially around chronic diseases.

Rosaura Ruiz Gutiérrez: Science, Humanities, Technology, and Innovation
Rosaura Ruiz Gutiérrez

A biologist and academic, Ruiz served a similar role in Mexico City’s cabinet during Sheinbaum’s tenure as mayor. Now, she will head a new secretariat focused on scientific investigation, technology, and innovation.  

She previously held a number of academic roles, including director of the Faculty of Sciences at UNAM, Sheinbaum’s alma mater. 

Julio Berdegué Sacristán, Agriculture and Rural Development
Julio Berdegué Sacristán

A long-time agronomist and academic, Berdegué was, until 2022, subdirector general and regional representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization to the UN for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

After being named agricultural secretary, Berdegué voiced support for more sustainable agricultural practices. He also said the next Mexican government will continue to be opposed to both the cultivation of and the importation of genetically modified corn for human consumption. The AMLO government’s moves to phase out imports of GMO corn has already been a source of friction between the United States and Mexico. 

Ariadna Montiel Reyes, Welfare
Ariadna Montiel

There will be no transition at the Secretariat of Welfare where Montiel will remain in her role. AMLO appointed her to the role in January 2022 after she served as a subsecretary in the from the start of his presidency. In this position, Montiel executes many of AMLO’s signature cash transfer programs, such as pensions for the elderly and money for children’s health. She’s also been the administration’s point person on Hurricane Otis recovery in Acapulco.

Montiel, an UNAM-trained architect, previously served a variety of roles, including director of Mexico City’s public transportation system (2006–20120), deputy in the capital’s Congress (2012–2015), and federal deputy (2015–2018). 

Jesús Antonio Esteva Medina: Infrastructure, Communication, and Transportation
Jesús Antonio Esteva Medina

Like Sheinbaum, Esteva Medina is a scientist trained at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s spent most of his career working on infrastructure projects in Mexico City, including the beloved Vasconcelos Library. Under Sheinbaum, he served as the head of the capital’s public works and services secretariat.

Edna Elena Vega Rangel: Agrarian, Land, and Urban Development
Edna Elena Vega Rangel

A sociologist by training, Vega Rangel spent much of her career working for housing non-profits and government organizations throughout Mexico City. During the first four years of AMLO’s presidency, she presided over Conavi, Mexico’s housing authority. Then, in 2022, she was appointed as undersecretary of the ministry she will now helm. Vega Rangel, as highlighted by Sheinbaum, will be tasked with executing the president-elect's promise to build one million homes.

José "Pepe" Merino, Digital Transformation and Telecommunications
José Merino

José Merino, best known as "Pepe", will head a new federal agency. The professor helmed a similar organization for Mexico City, during Sheinbaum’s mayorship. In that role, he helped streamline and simplify government functions, moving 40 percent of the city’s functions online and promoting an open government plan. His announcement was made on June 26, outside of a major news conference.