Weathering the Storm: Felipe Calderón’s Office of the Presidency, Mexico, 2006-2012


In 2006, incoming Mexican president Felipe Calderón had to work quickly to deliver on ambitious campaign promises that included improving infrastructure and confronting organized crime. Limited by his country’s constitution to one six-year term, Calderón, a hands-on manager, sought to ensure coordination and follow-through among members of his Cabinet by creating a strong Office of the Presidency. At first, he appointed Juan Camilo Mouriño, a close aide and political adviser, to head a centralized office that combined political and policy responsibilities in his chief-of-staff role. Later, Calderón moved Mouriño to the Cabinet, shifting political responsibilities out of the office, flattening the structure, and assuming more-direct management responsibility than he had exercised as president earlier. Mouriño’s untimely death later the same year coincided with twin crises that tested the office and the presidency. Although Calderón’s tenure demonstrated successful planning and coordination, his experience also illustrated the limitations of an organizational structure that relied too heavily on the chief executive’s participation.

Robert Joyce drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Mexico City in January 2015. Case published in June, 2015.

security sector reform
organized crime
Cabinet offices and Secretariats
president's office
development planning
Focus Area(s)
Centers of Government
Critical Tasks
Improving cabinet efficiency
Strategic planning
Core Challenge
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Robert Joyce