Former Chevron Energía de México head joins Center for Energy Studies

David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Former Chevron Energía de México head joins Center for Energy Studies

HOUSTON – (Sept. 17, 2018) — Benigna Cortés Leiss, former general director of Chevron Energía de México, has been named a nonresident fellow in Latin American energy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies, the institute announced today.


Leiss held numerous leadership positions during her 20-plus years with Chevron and its predecessor companies prior to her retirement in 2017.

As an active participant in discussions between private sector interests and government in Mexico’s energy reform, Leiss and industry colleagues identified the need to formalize an association to provide more productive feedback to the government and related agencies. She is a founding member of the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies and served on its board of directors for two terms.

“Benigna adds considerable expertise to our team’s increasing focus on energy policies in Mexico, Venezuela and Latin America more generally,” said Ken Medlock, senior director of the Center for Energy Studies.

Leiss’ appointment is part of an ongoing expansion of the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, which is ranked No. 1 among the world’s energy- and resource-policy think tanks according to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program’s 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. The center provides policymakers, corporate leaders and the public with high-quality, data-driven analysis of issues that influence energy markets.

In 2016, CNN Expansión recognized Leiss as one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico and Petróleo y Energía magazine listed her among the 100 most impactful leaders of Mexico’s energy sector.

Leiss received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Universidad de Chile and a master’s degree in international economics from the University of Surrey in England.


For more information or to schedule an interview with Leiss, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.

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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.