Our Man at the IDB
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington, Luis Alberto Moreno, won a decisive election victory to take over as president of the Inter-American Development Bank. He soundly beat rivals from Brazil, Peru and Venezuela, thanks to strong support from the US, which holds 30% of the bank’s shares. Moreno is one of Latin America’s most accomplished diplomats in Washington. IDB watchers say he needs to engage more closely with non-governmental organizations and develop new products better suited for private sector borrowers as lending to governments declines.
Promotion at Petrobras
The Brazilian government promoted José Sérgio Gabrielli to become president of Petrobras, the state-controlled national oil company. Gabrielli takes over from Eduardo Dutra, who quit to run for the Senate on the ruling Workers Party ticket. Gabrielli has served as CFO at Petrobras since March 2003. He is a former economics professor who has impressed markets for his sophisticated grasp of finance and for his astute negotiating skills. In addition, Petrobras named economist Almir Guilherme Barbassa its new director of investor relations. The move is an internal one. Previously, Barbassa was executive director for corporate finance, a position he has held since July 1999. Barbassa has spent his career at the oil company, having worked there since 1974, when the company was still known as Braspetro.
Citigroup Deploys Bermúdez
The former head of Citigroup’s Latin America operations, Jorge Bermúdez, has taken over as chief executive of recently created Citibank Texas. One-third of the state’s population is Hispanic, making it a crucial operation for Citigroup in its battle for a share of this fast-growing market segment. Bermúdez, who has worked at Citigroup for 30 years, became a senior international adviser in March 2004, after handing over the position as head of Latin America to Manuel Medina-Mora.
WestLB Hires García Otero
Germany’s WestLB has hired María Rosa García Otero to join its syndication team as an executive director at its Latin American investment banking division. She reports to Thomas Friebel, head of loan syndications and structured capital markets for Latin America. Based in New York, García Otero is responsible for primary and secondary distribution of syndicated loans and structured products. She joins WestLB from Société Générale, where she focused on corporate and project finance loan sales for US and Latin American issuers. She previously worked at Swiss Bank.
World Bank’s New Man in Brazil
The World Bank is sending its Brazil director, Vinod Thomas, back to World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, to make him the bank’s general director for operations and evaluations. The bank is naming South African John Briscoe to take over for Thomas. Briscoe currently works as a senior advisor on water issues for South Asia and is based in New Delhi. Bank officials said, however, that as a water expert he has been involved with Brazil since first joining the bank in 1988. Briscoe will start his new role in mid-October.
Ecuador Taps New Minister
Only four months after taking office, Ecuador’s President Alfredo Palacio has already lost a finance minister. Rafael Correa, minister of economy and finance under Palacio, quit in early August over a disagreement with the president about Correa’s plan to launch a $500 million bond issue to cover government spending. Palacio promoted Correa’s vice minister, Magdalena Barreiro, to take over from Correa. Barreiro is said to be less confrontational than her former boss, which should bode well for the country’s relationship with lenders and Wall Street, and her appointment is also being taken as a signal that the government won’t veer from its current set of economic policies.
Bolivian Minister Resigns
Bolivia’s interim government also lost its finance minister, Luis Carlos Jemio, who resigned in early August amid disapproval about comments he made about Bolivian presidential candidate Evo Morales. Bolivian President Eduardo Rodríguez, also named the country’s vice minister of finance, Waldo Gutiérrez, to replace Jemio. Speaking at Gutiérrez’ swearing-in ceremony, Rodríguez stated that his government has to maintain impartiality. Rodríguez was named interim president of Bolivia in June, after protests forced his predecessor Carlos Mesa out of office, and Rodríguez will stay in office until the next president takes power in January.
Banco Popular do Brasil Loses President
State-owned Banco do Brasil has announced that Geraldo Magela has quit as as president of its microfinance arm Banco Popular do Brasil (BPB). Magela is the fourth Banco do Brasil executive with links to the ruling Workers Party (PT) to leave the bank in a month. Magela said he was leaving to run for governor of the Federal District of Brasília. He denies the government is purging the bank of PT members in the wake of a political corruption scandal. Magela says the party still has three vice presidents at Banco do Brasil.
New Man at Itaú Corretora
The brokerage arm of São Paulo’s Banco Itaú has appointed Sérgio Tamashiro to join its equity research team to cover electric and utility stocks. Tamashiro has more than 15 years’ experience in the business and comes to Itaú from BBVA Securities, where he was a senior analyst covering oil, chemical and utility companies. Itaú has been on a hiring spree. In July, it appointed Marcos De Callis as director of research and strategy. Itaú also hired Paolo Di Sora as analyst for the steel, mining, and pulp and paper industries.
Martínez-Ostos Joins Deutsche
Deutsche Bank has hired Raúl Martínez-Ostos Jaye as a director in its Latin America debt capital markets division, reporting to Marcelo Blanco, head of Latin America debt capital markets. US-educated Martínez-Ostos joins Deutsche from Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, where he worked for almost five years. He will be based in Mexico City.
Lula’s New Chief of Staff
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva named Dilma Rousseff as his new chief of staff in late June, taking her away from her post as Brazil’s Mines and Energy minister. While Lula was praised for his choice of Rousseff, whose ministry was considered one of the best run under the Lula Administration, energy sector officials have expressed concern about losing Rousseff’s full attention. Lula replaced Rousseff with Silas Rondeau Cavalcante Silva, who was president of Brazilian state-run power producer Eletrobrás since 2004.
Police Find Stolen Money
Antonio Celso, a commissioner of the Brazilian Federal Police, gets a pat on the back for his quick recovery of some of the money stolen from the Central Bank in early August. An operation organized by Celso arrested two persons and recovered R$1 million ($421,400), a small portion of the R$164.8 million ($69.7 million) that was stolen from the Fortaleza branch of Brazil’s Central Bank. The robbery was Brazil’s biggest-ever bank heist and has drawn global attention because of the amount of money taken and the cleverness of the theft, which involved tunneling under the bank.