After he was left scrambling to replace empty boards at Medellín institutions Ruta N and EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín) after mass resignations and a resultant institutional crisis, Medellín’s Mayor Daniel Quintero has been embarrassed by several high profile rejections of his offers to board positions. Independent international ratings firm Fitch downgraded EPM’s credit rating citing political interference and poor corporate governance after both boards protested Quintero’s attempts to use public organs for political means.
The first embarrassment was when Quintero announced that the CEO of telephony provider America Movil / Claro, Juan Carlos Archila would be appointed to the board of Ruta-N, Medellín’s primary technology entrepreneurship incubator. Archila clarified that he would not accept such an appointment.
Despite repeated requests by Finance Colombia, Mayor Daniel Quintero, through his press secretary has refused to respond.
Quintero also named Alberto Preciado of Colombian conglomerate Grupo Santo Domingo to the board of EPM, the utility giant owned by the city of Medellín. Preciado took to Twitter to publicly reject the offer. Curiously these public rebukes took place after Quintero announced the appointments, leaving the question of whether he spoke to these individuals beforehand.
Preciado is a lawyer and currently serves on the board of large Colombian companies such as Valorem, Decameron, Caracól Television, Cine Colombia, The Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá, Cafam, and Bavaria.
The crisis deepens for Quintero, as there is a limited pool of Colombian executives with experience governing a multibillion dollar company with international holdings—and international investors—such as EPM. As EPM relies on international institutional investment, its corporate governance must answer to financial stakeholders beyond the Aburrá Valley of Colombia where Medellín is situated.
One of the board members who resigned, Azucena Restrepo (pictured above), who is the president of Proantioquia, the regions leading civic foundation, criticized the mayor, saying his actions “undermine trust in institutions and people and they become a worrying sign that is detrimental to the good governance that has characterized everything that involves EPM.”