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Under-the-Radar Appointments at GDB

By on July 8, 2016

SAN JUAN — Despite not being publicly announced, on May 17 Gov. Alejandro García Padilla filled two vacancies at the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank’s (GDB) board of directors.

La Fortaleza confirmed to Caribbean Business that the governor named Rafael Vélez Pérez and Carlos Bonilla Agosto as new private-sector directors of the bank’s board.

GDB President & Chairwoman Melba Acosta—who announced Thursday she was leaving the bank, effective July 31—and Economic Development Secretary Alberto Bacó Bagué are the other current members of the bank’s board.

GDB BGFBoth Vélez and Bonilla had been previously appointed to serve in other public entity boards, with the Economic Development Bank and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, respectively.

Their designations as new GDB board members took place about one month after the exit of bankers Fermín Contreras and Iván Méndez, both of whom had been serving since the summer of 2015 as private-sector representatives. Earlier this year, Office of Management & Budget Director Luis Cruz and Treasury Secretary Juan Zaragoza also resigned as GDB directors, citing a potential conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, with Acosta’s exit, the GDB could find itself with four of its seven director posts vacant, if La Fortaleza is unable to find a successor for Acosta before the end of July.

The García Padilla administration has been seeking candidates for the GDB board’s vacancies for months, yet has struggled to find individuals willing to accept the responsibility amid the bank’s financial woes.

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