A man who served Bermuda well

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  • One of our heroes: Eduardo Cutillas and wife Ana Maria

    One of our heroes: Eduardo Cutillas and wife Ana Maria

On Friday, February 24, Bermuda lost one of its heroes of the past 50 years when Eduardo Cutillas passed away peacefully in Miami surrounded by his loving family after a short illness.

When Eduardo Cutillas was born in Cuba in 1935, he had no idea that he would end up spending the majority of his life in Bermuda.

The great-great-grandson of Facundo Bacardi, the founder of the leading brand of rum in the world, Eduardo’s father was an officer in the Spanish navy.

Eduardo worked all his life for the family business, Bacardi, after completing his studies at the University of Georgia. When Bacardi’s Cuban assets were confiscated by the Castro regime after the Cuban Revolution, Eduardo found that he and his whole family were forced to leave Cuba and go into exile.

Bacardi had to find a new home and Eduardo was very instrumental in establishing Bacardi’s global headquarters in Bermuda as a result of the revolution.

A number of American firms that had a large presence in Cuba relocated their Cuban offices to Bermuda, such as American International and Reynolds Aluminum. But Bacardi was the only former Cuban company to do so and the only one that established its global headquarters in Bermuda.

These were early days for Bacardi’s international business section and without comparison Bacardi has been the biggest and most significant non-insurance-related company to establish its global headquarters with a significant physical presence in Bermuda.

There are few if any international companies in Bermuda that can compare their contribution to Bermuda to that of Bacardi.

Eduardo oversaw the construction of its new global headquarters on Pitts Bay Road, a globally recognised building for its architectural significance. It had been designed by one of the leading architects of the 20th century, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to be built in Havana.

Bacardi purchased the land on which it now sits on Pitts Bay Road and adapted the same plans to fit with Bermuda topography.

Countless special functions, from corporate and charitable to community and sports events, have been held there over the past 50 years. An invitation to any event at Bacardi was always valued, sought after and very much appreciated.

From the outset, Eduardo led the Bermuda team alongside such friends and long-time Cuban-Bermudian residents Carlos Bosch, Miguel Triay and Juan Prado. Eduardo was a leader who inspired the values of passion and caring. Eduardo was highly respected through all segments of the Bermuda community as a man whose word could be relied upon and who delivered on his promises.

He epitomised the height of the greatness that was Bacardi in Bermuda and the world in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In addition to leading the team in Bermuda, he held a number of senior leadership roles in Bacardi, including serving as its chief executive officer and president of Bacardi International.

Eduardo retired in 1998 after a very distinguished career. He and his wife, Ana Maria, were proud to receive their permanent resident’s certificates for Bermuda.

While Eduardo spent much of his later years in Casa De Campo in the Dominican Republic, among his close boyhood friends from Cuba, he often returned to his home at Buttonwood, Devonshire Bay, which he leased for more than 40 years.

Eduardo attended Bacardi’s 50th anniversary celebration in Bermuda in 2015 and, at the Pitts Bay Road street party that Bacardi hosted on June 18, 2015, stated that “closest to our hearts are the people of Bermuda who welcomed us with such warmth. I’m very happy we’re here and we are staying here. We are not going back to Cuba. Bermuda is our home now”.

Eduardo is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Ana Maria, his son, Eduardo “Eddie”, and wife Randi, daughter Ana Olga and her husband, Tad Walker, and grandchildren Olga, Cecilia, Annette, Eddie and Eliott Cutillas and Peter, Harry, Edward, Bobby and Sam Walker, to whom he was deeply devoted and who in turn loved him dearly.

Eduardo had a most moving and beautiful funeral at the Church of the Epiphany, Coral Gables, Florida, on Monday, 27th of February. A Bermuda memorial service at a later date and time is being planned.

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Published Mar 13, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 13, 2017 at 7:15 am)

A man who served Bermuda well

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