Carlos Gustavo Cano Leaves Ecopetrol Board of Directors, More Changes Expected
Ecopetrol S.A. (BVC: ECOPETROL; NYSE: EC) board of directors member Carlos Gustavo Cano Sanz resigned from his position in the company February 16, as the Colombian petroleum company continues to experience shake-ups and changes in the company’s leadership.
Cano announced his retirement by expressing gratitude for his years of service to the company, but also said that “when trust within any collegiate group like this vanishes, for reasons that I do not consider opportune nor prudent to mention now, what is ethically indicated is to step aside.”
He had previously served at the Ministry of Agriculture under former President Álvaro Uribe between 2002 and 2005 before he was nominated for the company’s board in 2007 by a group of minority shareholders.
Cano has mainly served without controversy; however, after being appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ecopetrol on October 2022, Cano found himself resigning from the position 24 hours later as President Gustavo Petro pushed for businessman Saúl Kattan Cohen to helm the position instead.
Cano’s resignation letter seems to allude to disagreements between him and President Petro, pushing for the ability of the petroleum company to be able to make independent decisions based on how the market is doing, away from the government’s influence.
“In short, the value of the independence of the organs designed to meet the imperatives of the mediate and the long term, as opposed to merely conjectural ones, subject to bureaucratic and political interference at all times, that constitutes an irreplaceable bulwark of the sustainability of democracy in the face of its raison d’être: genuine collective well-being,” he said.
“Needless to say, the corporate governance of state-owned companies that still subsist as such, and financially support much of the functioning of the state, in addition to leading the driving force behind its development, which is energy.”
The resignation of Cano came a few weeks after Ecopetrol President Felipe Bayón Pardo announced his own resignation from the company after five years in the position. Bayón, who helped the company weather through the COVID pandemic after he was appointed CEO, will be leaving his position by March 31.
Since the announcement of Bayón’s resignation, Ecopetrol’s management has been on the lookout for his replacement, the names of which include Cohen as well as energy sector expert and ally of President Petro Ricardo Roa Barragán.
The company is also reported to be changing the “ancient” members of their Board of Directors by March under the Ministry of Finance’s order, with only former national planning director Esteban Piedrahíta expected so far to stay in his position as board member.