Former CEO of EPM Denounces Medellín’s Mayor As A Menace To The Utility’s Corporate Governance & Independence
Former general manager and CEO of Medellín’s multinational (but city-owned) utility conglomerate EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) Álvaro Rendón (above, right) has come out with bold accusations against Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero (above, left), denouncing him for attempting to pierce the institutional independence and bypass the corporate governance within the utility, that has billions of dollars of debt in international capital markets.
Rendón, himself a Quintero appointee was fired by Quintero just 1 year after his appointment at the beginning of the Quintero administration. EPM, which owns utility assets throughout Latin America, is owned by the city of Medellín, but operated as an independent company with the city holding the role as shareholder. Board members are appointed by the mayor, who also serves on the board, but the company has in the past been run as a profitable corporation.
Last year, the entire board of directors (except the mayor) resigned in protest of the Mayor’s unilateral actions and what the board saw as interference within the company’s operation and governance. This allowed the mayor to appoint a board of his choosing. At the mayor’s direction, EPM has also filed lawsuits against the consortium of contractors building its troubled Hidroituango hydroelectric project.
According to Rendón on radio interviews he gave with Colombian radio stations Blu Radio and W Radio, Mayor Quintero has led a hostile takeover of EPM. In the interviews, Rendón accused the mayor of attempting to install his private secretary, Camila Villamizar, on various EPM internal committees to act as his proxy, “ordering investigations, interfering in my private meetings, and even interrupting a meeting I was directing,” says Rendón.
“I didn’t take her phone calls anymore because she’s obviously disrespectful in the orders she gives, she’s interfering in the recruiting procedures for Afinia, for Cartagena, and the processes that had been accomplished and she started giving resumes in an absurd way: ‘this is one we need’, ‘this is the candidate for this,’ and where there is corporate governance, these types of companies have to follow protocols so obviously when I told the mayor and complained about this, it fractured my relationship with him.”
During the full interviews (links above) which lasted almost an hour in total, Rendón made several other allegations against Quintero, and went on to say that Quintero asked him to “take a permanent vacation” or personal leave and when he refused, Rendón demanded his resignation. Rendón said he would only resign after a review of his performance by the board of directors.
Rendón accused the mayor of pushing through the appointment of two vice presidents to EPM that were personal friends of the mayor, and pressuring him to remove Blanca Arrollave from new EPM subsidiary Afinia, which EPM took control of after the government liquidated Caribbean energy provider ElectriCaribe, accusing Spanish owner Gas Natural Fenosa of mismanagement.
Finance Colombia has asked repeatedly for comment from the mayor’s office, and offered multiple chances for interviews, but the office has been unresponsive since the mayor’s inauguration over a year ago.
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