Richard Montanez Net Worth, Inspiring Story, Facts, and More

richard montanez net worth

Starting a journey from a one-bedroom labor camp, the rising story of Richard Montanez is like a fairy tale! PepsiCo’s once-top boss, Richard Montanez net worth, life history, and struggles are even on screen.

According to Montanez, it’s not magic but confidence, innovation, and extreme dedication that made him a millionaire. Even after retirement, he is debarred from a prime income source, but his growing wealth is reflecting the secret of personal branding.

The first-generation Mexican immigrant’s corporate story started in 1976 as a janitor job in a Frito-Lay plant. Montanez is a live example of the American dream, especially in the Latino-American community. His life and struggle are the inspiration for people with zero bucks.

Needless to say, his lifehacks will continue to spread to the next generations. His once ooverty-stricken situation forced him to deal with many illegal ventures.

Explore the inspiring journey of the school dropout VP, with his struggles, perseverance, and overcoming challenges to reach new heights of success.

NameRichard Montañez
Date of BirthAugust 15, 1958
Height5' 9"
Weight80 kg (176 lbs)
OriginMexican family
Born inCalifornia, US
Current cityRancho Cucamonga, California
EthnicityLuciano "Lucky" Montanez (father)
Marital StatusMarried
PartnerJudy Montarez
ChildrenLucky Montanez, Steven Montanez, and Michael Montanez
5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren
ProfessionFormer Marketing head of PepsiCo, Author, Motivational Speaker, Mentor
Net worth$15 million

Richard Montanez age, childhood, education

Born in 1958, Richard Montanez grew up in southern California. Undoubtedly when their family migrated from Mexico, they had to face hard times.

Richard also grew up under the guidance of his strict father and a supportive grandmother. He was desperately struggling to survive with ten siblings!

We get some unseen insights about his struggle days from his hot-selling book. Yes, his impressive story-telling ability is on book and TV screens explain more about him.

Thriving by acute poverty once Montanze was forced to sell his tiffin burritos (Mexican sandwich) as his first venture. He was even interrogated for unethical practices within school.

Unfortunately, he had lack of evidence to back his earnings by selling school tiffin. The only good memory he can recall about school was meeting his life partner Judy.

After ending the school chapter in the mid of the session, the couple started selling drugs to make ends meet! However, after their first child landed, they promised to start an honest life.

Inspiring career and stunning growth of Richard Montanez

Amid extreme threats from drug dealers and financial crises, his old friend Tim Romero helped to get the first step in Frito-Lay. Despite manipulated claims in the resume, floor head Lonny Mason found some potential in the boy.

Being a part of Frito-Lay, Richard Monteñez observed and learned operations slowly. Although he had no educational degree, his dedication helped him to become an engineer maintenance leader.

One day Montane requested maintenance leader C. Baker to take some unflavored Cheetos home. He started his fiery and spicy experience. As per the movie on his life, Montanze faced corporate politics before convincing his flavor to launch. His children welcomed the Mexican-spicy flavors, and after that, the CEO pressed the green light for it.

Hot Cheetos got a huge success, and Montañez was celebrated as a hero in the company. Some major national media outlets featured his success story.

After that, he started to make progress in Frito-Lay and ended up as VP of sales and marketing (North America). His 42 years of glorious time in the company ended in 2019 after his retirement.

Richard Montañez net worth

From his struggling days of the 70s and 80s, Richard dreamt high. However, his 1992 spicy event change his fortune forever.

Though Richard does not want to credit a single event, he tries to talk about his confidence or audacity to convince the product manager. He retired from PepsiCo in 2019, but his earning potential denied taking a break.

The former VP (Sales & Marketing) of PepsiCo not only enhanced his sales and marketing skills for corporates but also diversified his income potential through other ventures.

With the help of his corporate skills like Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Business analysis, and Marketing, he became a motivational speaker in various media houses, portals, and colleges.

Depending on virtual or physical presence, he charges about $10,000 to $50,0000.

In addition, Walmart and Target, like retail giants, also hire him for speeches. Some portals claim his association with startups as an advisor. Experts opine Walmart and Target are his highest-paying platforms.

Including this, he penned two popular books, popularly known as Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story and A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie. Both books include his story from Rag to Riches. Every year, he manages a handsome passive income from these.

His income story is not ending here!

Disney+ paid him a good sum for the movie from his book Flamin’ Hot. It has an IMDB rating of 6.9/10.

Richard Montanez net worth 2023$15 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2022$15 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2021$14 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2020$13 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2019$13 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2018$13 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2017$ 1 million
Richard Montanez net worth 2016$8 million

Facts about Richard Montanez

  • As a PepsiCo (Marketing) director in 2012, he was featured as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America for his contribution to the corporate world.
  • He is also always proud of his Latino heritage and promotes it in maximum speeches. Richard Montanez was the main speaker in the prestigious AL DÍA’s virtual 2020 Hispanic Heritage Awards (Latino Community).
  • According to Los Angeles Times, Richard’s claim of inventing fiery Cheetos is fake; even the company’s internal investigation cannot find any evidence to support his claim. But Frito-Lay continues to pamper the former marketing chief.
  • Due to migration to the USA under poor circumstances, Richard Montañez had to drop his schooling dreams, and he always stressed experience and skills. But he never denies power or the modern education system.
  • Richard Montanez also works as an advisor or mentor of aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • In his early days, he was an introvert, even though he did not know English. This introverted guy who hid his burrito in his school bag became PepsiCo’s sales and marketing director, where sales are believed to be not introverts’ cup of tea!


Richard Montanez’s inspiring journey combines dedication, out of the box thinking, and capturing opportunity. In his motivational speeches, he always refused his circumstances to defend himself. But his confidence, creativity, and aggressive mind helped him make his cup of tea.

His humble beginning in the 90s to his present riding at the peak of success inspired millions through book and entertainment series by Disney+. Undoubtedly, his story resonates with many aspiring entrepreneurs, and dreamers. It helps them start from zero.

Keeping aside all controversy, we can say his work on the world of the spicy snack revolution will be intertwined forever. It is also a lesson for introverted people who fear making a bold move while thinking about how people will react or fear rejection.

Remember the super-rich millionaire quote,

I had a Ph.D. of being hungry, poor, and determined.

Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much money does Richard Montañez make?

In total, Richard Montanez’s net worth is calculated to be around $15 million. He has multiple sources of income, but his primary cash flow was as a VP of Sales and Marketing at PepsiCo. In addition, he has income from delivering lectures on various platforms. He speaks fluently in Business Growth, and Entrepreneurship. He reportedly earns $20,000 to $50,000 for every event or lives discussion. You can hire him for remote events at a low cost of around $10,000 to $20,000.

2. How much money does Cheetos make?

America’s favorite snack brand makes around $1 billion in a year. Recognizing the absence of spice in Cheetos, Richard Montanez created a hot and spicy variation. Driven by his confidence, the CEO arranged a meeting and launched the variation nationwide in 1992.

3. Who is the real owner of Cheetos?

Cheetos started its journey in 1948 under the original The Frito Company. Now PepsiCo owns it and generates $1 billion yearly from the snacks. Even during the pandemic and lockdown of 2020, PepsiCo reported a stunning revenue of $70 billion.

4. Who invented fire Cheetos?

Though Richard cooks up the ‘story’ of making Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, The Los Angeles Times finds a different angle. They accused Montañez of forcing others to eat up the same stories for maximum events. Countering popular belief, Montanez’s role in Hot Cheetos is subject to argument. Los Angeles Times interviewed employees; they also analyzed archival data in-depth. Moreover, they collected various Frito-Lay statements which were not batting on behalf of Richard. Despite lacking evidence and proof, Frito-Lay defends Richards, saying they will continue to pamper Richard Monteñez.

LAT’s investigation finds The inception of Flamin’ Hots involved an energetic team in 1989. It was invented before four years of Richard Montanez’s claim. After that, a bunch of skilled snack food professionals created the spicy sensation. That time freshly MBA passed out, Lynne Greenfeld, a junior employee, was named with the promotion of the product.

5. How did Richard Montañez get rich?

Richard Montañez became rich due to his association with PepsiCo (Frito-Lay). He earns almost $10,000 to $50,000 from each debate, business school lecture, or content as a motivational speaker. The price depends on the platform, brand name, and physical or virtual appearance.

6. What was the highest-selling Cheeto?

According to CNBC news, Cheeto with design of Harambe Gorilla just sold on eBay for nearly $100k. Harambe, the silverback gorilla weighing 400 pounds, lost its life with a gunshot. It happened to save a human child who was accidentally dropped in the enclosure. eBay confirmed there was no return request for the product!

7. What is the most expensive Cheetos?

Cheetos sold in memory of Hamambe Gorilla was the most expensive snack so far, price was $100k. The online seller eBay confirmed it was the most expensive snack they had ever sold.

8. What is Richard Montanez age?

Born on August 15, 1958 in a first-generation Mexican migrant family — he is 65 as of 2023. He retired from PepsiCo at 60, in the year 2019.


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