Major Shakeup Hits Ecopetrol as Four Vice Presidents Abruptly Leave the State-Controlled Oil Company
Major changes hit leadership positions across Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) this month, with the state-controlled oil company announcing the exit of four vice presidents.
Officially, in a statement released on August 17, Ecopetrol confirmed that María Juliana Albán Durán (corporate vice president of compliance), Jaime Caballero Uribe (corporate vice president of finance and sustainable value), and Yeimy Báez Moreno (vice president of low emissions solutions) had all retired.
It added that Ernesto Gutiérrez de Piñeres (vice president of science, technology, and innovation) will leave the company on August 31.
Who Will Be Elevated at the Company?
New names for senior management positions have already been revealed:
- Ana Milena López Rocha will be Corporate Vice President of Finance and Sustainable Value. She is the current Vice President of Finance, Strategy and New Business at Cenit Transporte y Logística de Hidrocarburos, a subsidiary of Ecopetrol S.A. She is currently a member of the boards of Banco Davivienda, Ocensa and Seguros Bolívar. Former General Director of Public Credit and the National Treasury. Ms. López holds a degree in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
- David Alfredo Riaño Alarcón will now be Vice President of Low Emissions Solutions. Riaño, who has 25 years of experience in the energy sector, received a degree in electrical engineering from Universidad de la Salle, master’s degree in economics from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, master’s degree in industrial engineering from Universidad de los Andes, and an MBA from the University of Warwick. Riaño was President of Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI), Vice President of the Colombian Association of Power Generators (ACOLGEN), Superintendent of Energy and Gas of the Superintendency of Public Utilities (SSPD) and Advisor to the Energy and Gas Regulatory Commission (CREG).
The remaining positions will be filled by temporary appointees.
- Ana María Silva Escobar, currently Corporate Manager of Ethics and Compliance Affairs of the Corporate Vice-Presidency of Compliance, assumes the position as Corporate Vice-President of Compliance.
- María Catalina Escobar Hoyos, currently Manager of Value Maximization of the Corporate Vice-Presidency of Finance and Sustainable Value, assumes the position of Corporate Vice-President of Finance and Sustainable Value, a position that will be extended until Ana Milena López Rocha joins the company.
- As of September 1, 2023, Juanita Quintana Valdivieso (technology commercialization manager) assumes the temporary position of Vice-President of Science, Technology and Innovation while a person is found for the position of Vice-President.
More Questions than Answers
Up until this big shakeup, Ricardo Roa, who was announced as Ecopetrol’s new president in April, had only initiated the change of one vice president out of 17 positions, according to the Colombian publication La Silla Vacía.
Opinions on the executive change at Ecopetrol came quickly, and the decision has spurred fears of a leadership crisis and controversy about the future of Colombia’s most important company.
Diego Mesa, former Colombian minister of mines and energy, said on Twitter that the exiting vice presidents “had been key in the transformation of the company” and “in achieving the historical results that were recorded in 2021 and 2022.”
In response, Juan Manuel Restrepo, former minister of finance, criticized the decisions: “Disdain for results and technical aspects! I hope the replacements are better.”
La Silla also used the opportunity to criticize Roa’s tenure and speculate on his future at the helm of the company.
“His leadership style has been timid and reflects a lack of knowledge of a sector in which he had no experience,” wrote authors Camilo Andrés Garzón and
María Camila González Olarte. “In addition, external controversies have created the perception that he may not be able to stay in office for long.”