Cisneros's Father, Diego Cisneros, was in Business in Caracas from 1929 and received the Pepsi concession for Venezuela in 1940, before going on to gain the concession for private TV channel Venevisión in 1961. The Cisneros family was the first-wealthiest in South America on the 2006 Forbes ranking.
Cisneros has been married to his wife, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, since 1970. She has been a significant MoMA benefactor since 1992, she has been a trustee of the museum and made substantial cash contributions to the museum’s recent renovation. Her name is on one of the institution’s exhibition rooms. In addition to MoMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art, and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid also have received art loans. Phelps de Cisneros is an active member of the International Council and the Latin American Acquisitions Committee of Tate, London; she is an International Trustee of the Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid; belongs to the Association Centre Pompidou América Latina; the Museum Berggruen’s International Council; and the American Friends of the Fondation Beyeler, among others.
Cisneros has lived in the Dominican Republic since the 1990s.
Grupo Cisneros is one of the largest privately held media entertainment organizations in the world. The company has been headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, since 2000.
Although Cisneros and Hugo Chávez were originally friends and Cisneros contributed to Chávez's first presidential campaigns, Cisernos has been accused of involvement in the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt against Chávez after their relationship became strained because of Chávez's confrontation of the media.
In August 2013, Gustavo Cisneros appointed his daughter Adriana Cisneros de Griffin as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cisneros.
He has been listed among the world’s richest men according to Forbes magazine, which estimated his fortune at US$1.8 billion in 2017. His wealth has decreased from its 2014 peak of US$4.4 billion.