John Gavin was nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico by President Ronald Reagan in March 1981 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate the following month. As ambassador, he headed one of the largest American diplomatic missions in the world, with more than 1,000 American and Mexican employees representing more than a dozen U.S. government agencies in offices throughout Mexico.
After leaving his position as ambassador last spring, Gavin was named president of Univisa Satellite Communications, a subsidiary of Univisa, Inc. Prior to joining the company, he served as vice president of federal and international relations for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO).
Univisa operates a wide variety of media, communications and entertainment companies, including a Spanish language television network; a national cable television service; record, program, and home video distribution companies; and a group of the other communications-related industries.
Born and reared in Los Angeles, Gavin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University, where he did senior honors work in Latin American economic history. He is fluent in Spanish.
Before entering government full-time, Gavin served with distinction in the U.S. Navy, pursued concurrent careers in business and the entertainment field and accumulated considerable public service experience. From 1961 to 1973, he was a special adviser to the secretary general of the Organization of American States and performed task group work for the Department of State and the Executive Office of the President.
From 1966 to 1973, he also served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and was guild president for two terms. For the next eight years, he was engaged in business activities, many of which took him to Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Gavin and his wife, the former Constance Mary Towers, have four children.