New Puerto Rico power company CEO says $750,000 salary is a ‘sacrifice’ for him
SAN JUAN – The new executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), Rafael Díaz Granados, said Thursday that it is a sacrifice for him to assume that position for $750,000 because he has earned much more in other jobs.
His remarks follow questions raised about the amount of his salary with respect to the fiscal situation of the corporation.
“It’s a sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice … I’m sacrificing for the people of Puerto Rico because every day that I’m in Puerto Rico is a day I’m not anywhere else, where I would earn a lot more money,” Díaz Granados said during a WKAQ radio interview.
He said that with General Electric, his former employer, he made more than $2 million, “so you in Puerto Rico are getting me with a significant discount.”
He added that the public corporation’s governing board has the flexibility to remove him at any time, without liquidation or bonuses.
“We’re going to see that something needs to be changed in the culture of the Electric Power Authority, and that’s why I formed the contract in the way I formed it, that working in the Authority is a privilege. It’s a privilege to serve the people of Puerto Rico and it depends on getting results. That’s why I’m at the discretion of the board and at the discretion of the people, and I have to provide those results. The moment I don’t provide them, the board can react…,” he said.
“I’m going to produce, I’m going to provide results, I’m going to lower costs, I’m going to justify my salary every day, and the day I don’t justify it, I’m leaving without liquidation, without a bonus, without anything,” he added.
Díaz Granados said there are committed employees in Prepa, “but there has been a significant lack of leadership and management has not been carried out in the way it should be carried out.”
In addition, he assured that being a lawyer, instead of an engineer, is more convenient with respect to the technical knowledge required by PREPA management.
“The good thing is you ask me for the time and I can give you the time. Ask an engineer for the time and he’ll explain how to put together a clock. So there are good things and bad things about engineers, and I really appreciate the engineers, but there is a technical depth and knowledge in the Electric Power Authority that is extremely important, but from the management point of view I think what I do I bring to the table will yield a very positive result,” he said while assuring he has managed multimillion-dollar companies.
Regarding his plans for the utility, Díaz Granados said privatization should take place after the signing of the Prepa transformation law, although he said he did not know when it would be finally achieved.
“The truth is you never know because there are two parts: the part of the company that we are going to manage…and the part of the possible bidders and buyers. My commitment is that my goal is to bring this to a privatization, to a concession in 18 months,” Díaz Granados said “There are a series of operational improvements I will be carrying out, no matter what happens. So, if [the question is whether] I want it to be privatized, I definitely want it to be privatized.”
The Colombian native said he currently lives between Boston and Miami but hopes to get an apartment on the island in the next couple of days.
Díaz Granados, who was a member of Prepa’s governing body of the AEE, was nominated to the post Wednesday, to replace former Director Walter Higgins III, who resigned.
The new appointee defended the hiring process of the former director,, which entailed spending about $250,000.
“Walt, whom I greatly appreciate, is a person who brings great expertise and that is why we have managed to get the governor to appoint him to the [Prepa governing] board and maintain continuity and from here on continue working hand in hand with him in Puerto Rico, the United States, in Congress, in New York on the bankruptcy matter. There is a lot to do,” he said.