Businessman and cultural advocate

Anthony “Tony” A. Leon Guerrero (1952 – 2005): President and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Guam, cultural advocate and visionary.

Bank of Guam
Leon Guerrero became the second president of Guam’s first locally chartered full-service banking institution in 1995 when he succeeded the bank’s founder, his late father, Jesus S. Leon Guerrero.

The Bank of Guam made history under his leadership when it became the first Guam established business to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 2000.

Leon Guerrero’s entry into the banking world began at a young age when he accompanied his father as he went door-to-door selling stock in the bank. Groomed from an early age to eventually take the helm of the bank, he attended the University of Guam and the University of London’s school of Economics where he majored in Monetary Economics. In 1985 he received his masters degree in Business Management from Stanford University.

At eighteen years of age while attending school, he started working at the Bank of America in San Francisco California as a general helper and loan interviewer. In 1974 he returned to Guam and started working for the Bank of Guam as a commercial loan officer. He quickly rose through the ranks holding various positions from manager of the bank’s San Francisco branch to Senior Vice President. In 1985 he was named Vice Chairman of Board, President and Chief Executive Officer. In 2002 he was named Chairman of the Board.

Community and civic contributions

Leon Guerrero’s commitment to the Pacific region and the advancement of its people manifest itself in his contributions to regional economic initiatives as chairman of the Guam Economic and Development Agency (now GEDCA) and leadership roles in regional organizations such as Pacific Islanders in Communications and the University of Guam where he served on numerous committees as well as the Board of Regents.

Leon Guerrero’s vision for the island of Guam included advancement of its people and economic growth. Not one to take a back seat, his commitment to his vision and the island of Guam was demonstrated by the leadership positions he held with various civic, public and charitable organizations. Ranging from membership on the Board of Directors of the Guam Waterworks Authority to membership on the Guam Catholic Education Council and the Board of Trustee’s of Goodwill Industries, Inc. and the American Cancer Society.

Leon Guerrero had a keen interest in politics and was an active member of the Guam Political Status Commission and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Cultural advocate

Although Leon Guerrero was active in numerous civic, charitable and commercial organizations, he had a special interest in the history and culture of Guam. Combining this interest in culture and history with economics, he served on the first Board of Directors of the Agana Restoration & Redevelopment Corporation as well as the Hagåtña Restoration and Redevelopment Authority. Following in his father’s footsteps, he also was a member of the Chamorro Historical Society.

His interest in culture and history prompted him, along with Rosa Palomo and George Boughton, to found the Guam Humanities Council in 1991. He went on to serve a total of twelve years on the Board of Directors and elected as Chairman of the Board four times.

He was instrumental in the expansion of the Council from a small grant making organization to an organization with a variety of multi-faceted programs. His support included offering office space for the Council at the Bank of Guam’s building in Hagåtña to soliciting support from island business for Council programs. He played a significant role in the establishment of the Public Forum series, the Motheread Family Literacy Program and Guampedia, the Council’s online encyclopedia.

He served as the initial project director of Guampedia and went on to become the Chairman of Guampedia’s Development committee. He was a strong advocate for the program until his death in 2005.

Leon Guerrero was a philanthropist whose generosity not only benefited the Guam Humanities Council but other civic, community and charitable organizations. In 1991, the Council recognized Leon Guerrero and the Bank of Guam with a special Philanthropist Award for a decade of support to the Council as well as to other community projects including the Ayuda Foundation, the Chuuk Library Book Drive, Rainbows for Children and the American Red Cross. His generosity also extended to individuals who also sought to better the island. No matter how busy his day was, he would often make time to offer guidance, support or introductions to those who sought his counsel.

His public persona as a powerful leader belied a generous soul who loved to tell stories and make people laugh. He loved animals, was an avid reader and fan of the Discovery Channel. He also took great pleasure in riding his Harley Davidson. But his greatest love was his children with whom he spent most of his free time.

Leon Guerrero is the son of Eugenia Aflague Leon Guerrero and the late, Jesus Sablan Leon Guerrero. He has has three children with his wife Mari Flor Herrero: daughters, Maria Eugenia and Alexandra and son, Jesus. He has two siblings, a brother Jesse Leon Guerrero and a sister, Lourdes Leon Guerrero. His sister Lourdes is the current President of the Bank of Guam.

By Jillette Leon-Guerrero, MA

Guampedia Entry by Anthony Leon Guerrero
Early American Economic History