Lupe de la Cruz, the veteran music executive who led marketing teams at EMI Latin and Univision Records for over a decade, died Tuesday (July 12) from complications stemming from amyloidosis.
De la Cruz had a keen, deep understanding of marketing to Hispanics. In his tenures at EMI Latin and Univision, he worked campaigns for the likes of Pepe Aguilar, Marco Antonio Solís and Los Tigres del Norte and also for more pop acts like Jennifer Peña, Akwid and Pilar Montenegro.
Overwhelmingly, however, De la Cruz left an impact as a consummate gentleman; a man who was always dealing with high-profile projects but managed to exude calm in the midst of any storm.
Born in Long Beach, Calif., De la Cruz was the walking example of the bicultural, bilingual, homegrown Latino, and throughout his career, he straddled the two worlds.
De la Cruz initially worked in the public sector as chief of staff for Congressman Esteban Torres in Los Angeles before venturing into marketing and promotion for brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. De La Cruz eventually led the marketing department at EMI Latin for seven years before becoming one of the founding staff members of Univision Records, where he was VP of national marketing.
In 2006, De La Cruz was named VP/general manager of the Latin division of St. Clair Entertainment Group, where he worked with retailers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
On Tuesday, De La Cruz’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from friends and former co-workers. “Thank you for all your advice and passion @ Univision Records and all you did for Urban Regional Movement,” wrote producer Byron Brizuela, referring to the electric chart-topping mix of urban and regional Mexican music that flourished under De La Cruz’s watch at Univision Records.
“Incredible person, humble, warm and always caring,” wrote Monica RIcardez, previously of Tower Records.