Sunday, August 18, 2019

Chief investment officer leaves Gov. Rosselló administration

By on July 22, 2019

Gerardo Portela served as executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority. (Juan J. Rodríguez / CB)

SAN JUAN — Gerardo Portela, who in recent months had been appointed chief investment officer, president of the Economic Development Bank of Puerto Rico (EDB) and executive director of the Housing Finance Authority (AFV), joined Sunday a growing list of officials who have left the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

In his letter of resignation, Portela reportedly said that “unfortunately, the events of the past weeks, including the attitude reflected in the comments of officers and advisers of the current administration do not match my values and principles.”

Portela is the most recent official to depart since private messages from a chat group in the Telegram app between the governor and his closest advisers were leaked. Some mocked allies and opponents alike while addressing public policy matters with third parties who were not government officials.

Last weekend, chat group participants Secretary of State Luis Rivera Marín and Christian Sobrino—who served as executive director of the Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (Aafaf by its Spanish acronym), as well as interim director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the government’s chief financial officer—resigned from their positions.

As Aafaf’s former director and chief restructuring officer of the Rosselló administration, Portela was in charge of the public debt’s debt restructuring negotiations but in January 2018, he was moved to a newly created position, the government’s chief investment officer. His position was later taken over by Sobrino.

In April this year, after requesting the resignation of Luis Berdiel as president of the EDB and director of the Housing Financing Authority, Rosselló appointed Portela to serve both positions in an interim basis.

On Sunday, Rosselló announced that, as a result of the scandal and the ensuing protests, which extend to all levels of Puerto Rican society, he was resigning from the presidency of his New Progressive Party (NPP) and would not seek re-election in the 2020 elections.

The announcement came on the eve of a demonstration organized to encompass one of the island’s main highways to demand Rosselló’s resignation.