Finance Colombia has learned additional details regarding the mass renunciation of Ruta-N’s board of directors in protest of the actions by Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero. Ruta-N is Medellín’s renowned business & entrepreneurship incubator that has been responsible in the last few years for thousands of jobs, and dozens of foreign companies choosing to locate in Medellín; in addition to the local entrepreneurs that have launched with the support of Ruta-N.
Interior Ruta-N sources allege, with the account corroborated to Finance Colombia by at least one former member of Ruta N’s board of directors that Quintero had been pressuring Ruta-N to circumvent civil service personnel procedures and hire his friend Germán Patiño Diez. Ruta-N management refused to do so, insisting that he or anyone else must go through the merit-based selection process. In July, Johanna Jaramillo Palacio, wife of Gabriel Jaime Rico was also passed over for hiring in favor of a candidate Ruta-N considered better qualified. It is important to note that then executive director, Juan Andrés Vásquez denied in a radio interview that a resumé for Jaramillo Palacio was presented for consideration.
Quintero, allegedly furious at the organization not catering to his whim, was then said to have threatened to cut off funding for Ruta-N unless executive director Vasquez resign. Vasquez immediately went to Ruta-N’s board of directors, which has the responsibility and power to appoint the executive director, with his account of what was happening and the mayor’s threats.
The board of directors then asked for a meeting with the mayor at the end of July, which they did not get. In their regular board meeting, August 12, the board of directors again asked Quintero’s secretary of economic development, Alejandro Arias for a meeting with the mayor to discuss the events. Such a meeting never happened.
The next communication from the mayor came via radio, when Vasquez, and the public learned that the mayor had named a new executive director for Ruta-N, though the executive director is selected and ratified by the board of directors, which had not been notified, or consulted, much less involved.
This led to the resignation of Ruta-N’s entire board of directors in protest of Quintero’s behavior, just one day after the entire board of directors (except the mayor himself) resigned from EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) in protest of the mayor’s behavior at the city-owned but independently managed utility company.
A firestorm of criticism soon followed, uniting seemingly the entirety of Medellín’s business, civic and even labor community against the mayor’s action. Several prominent board nominees rejected Quintero’s appointments, and EPM’s board representative to telecom joint-venture Tigo-Une resigned his post.
Less than a month after these scandals broke, events are still unfolding. Finance Colombia has reached out multiple times to the mayor through his press secretary, who has declined response.