Daniel Nuñez was the first member of his family to go to university. He spent his first two hours in the United States on an escalator – going up and down – as he had never seen one! He spoke no English when he arrived. Nonetheless, he studied agronomy and did very well. Returning to the Dominican Republic, he went to work for the Tobacco Institute in 1972, and through his work there he met Edgar Cullman, Sr., then chairman of General Cigar. Cullman said, “Young man, I’m going to make a tobacco man out of you”.
I asked why retire at 57, and Daniel responded, “I want to spend more time with my family. But, I will remain a consultant to the company.” In his career and position with General he was responsible for everything from seeds to cellophane. He ran one of the finest tobacco growing operations in all of the Caribbean and Latin America. It was Daniel Nuñez that decided to take General Cigar from two basic blends, Macanudo and Partagás in 1994, to the expansive portfolio that exists today.
What Nuñez accomplished needs no repeating here. It is part of cigar industry legend and lore. The brand and blend expansion catapulted General beyond expectations. Focusing on growing his company did not dim Daniel’s humanity. Under his guidance General Cigar’s Corporate Citizenship Program supports literacy and education; provides food and other assistance to the employees and Dominicans in general. And, he is a very strong advocate of reforestation and proper protection of the land.
He says, “I know the employees of General Cigar will be in an excellent position to grow the business into the future”. And, in any event, Daniel will always be available to them. “I will never end my love affair with tobacco.” This is not a man who will ride off into the sunset. He is the quintessential Dominican tobacco man, cigar man, gentleman and a gentle, soft spoken considerate human being.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Autumn Edition 2009. Read more