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Latin American Board

Latin American Board

The Latin American Board (LAB) serves as an advisory board to the president and provost of Georgetown University for Latin American engagement. Managed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of the region’s most influential leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, the LAB seeks to develop and strengthen the relationship between the university and Latin America through partnerships and the execution of high impact initiatives on campus and in the region.

Ricardo Ernst Managing Director of Georgetown University's Latin American Board.

Ignacio Alvarez,  F’80, P’08, P’11, P’13, P’20 – Puerto Rico: President and chief operating officer of Popular, Inc. Previously, he was one of the six founding partners of the law firm Pietrantoni Mendez & Alvarez, for which he was recognized as “one of the best lawyers in Puerto Rico” by Chambers Global.

Antonio Ardila – Colombia: Vice-chairman of Organización Ardila Lülle, which along with its subsidiaries, operates in the beverages, agro-industry, textiles, telecommunications, media, and financial services sectors. Ardila is also chairman of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Committee of Postobón, and a member of the Board of Directors of Peldar, Crown Colombiana, and Cervecería Central de Colombia (CCC).

Manuel J. Balbontin, P’19 – Chile (Chairman): Partner and founder of Compass Group, executive chairman of Compass Group Holdings, and senior investment strategist. Previous to founding the firm, Mr. Balbontín was a managing director and founder of New World Investments Group of Banco Santander in New York. Mr. Balbontín was also director of capital markets and co-director of sales and trading of Citicorp Emerging Markets Group in New York, London, and Tokyo. He has over 30 years experience in asset management, investment banking, and private capital investments in Latin America and other emerging markets.

Francisco Barriocanal, MBA ‘94– Paraguay: CEO at Enex Paraguay, a joint venture between the Cartes Group and Enex Investments Chile SPA, a Chilean company controlled by the Luksic family holding, Quiñenco. Francisco served as economic advisor to Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes (2013-2018), and as strategic projects coordinator at the Delivery Unit (Centro de Gobierno). He serves on several boards of directors, in diverse businesses including advertising, beverages, food, fuel distribution, hospitality, personal care, real estate development, and tobacco.

Alberto Beeck, P’15, P’17, P’18– Peru: Managing partner of Cranley Investments Holdings, managing partner of VH Properties, and chairman of Lumni (a company that invests in human capital). Alberto serves on the boards of Industria Works, DB Andean Towers, WE Family Offices Holdings, and Endeavor Miami. He is a former member of the board of trustees of Georgetown University, founder and chairman of Georgetown’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, and founder, current board member, and former chairman of Georgetown’s Latin American Board.

Mati Bonetti de Buccini, C’94 - Dominican Republic: Partner and Director of Atelier Delaware, a fine art preservation and storage facility. Previously she worked for MTV Networks International as the Director of the International Marketing for MTV, Nickelodeon and VH-1. Mrs. Bonetti de Buccini received her B.A. in History and Art History from Georgetown in 1994 and an MBA from Columbia in 1998.

Mario Canahuati, P’03– Honduras: Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Honduran Manufacturers Association, president of Industrias Pacer, and a member of Grupo Lovable’s Board of Directors. Canahuati has held leadership positions in several Honduran business organizations and governments; he served as Honduran ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2005, and as Honduras’ minister of foreign affairs from 2010 to 2011.

Pita de la Vega, P’24 – Mexico: Myriam Guadalupe “Pita” de la Vega is the Managing Director and CEO of Almacenes Distribuidores de La Frontera SA de CVMs and independent non-executive director at Fresnillo PLC. She is also the Managing Director of Maximus Inmobiliaria, and co-founder and one of the major stockholders of Domino's Pizza Cd. Juarez and Altec Purificacion. She serves on the board of Citibanamex and is Vice President of COPARMEX Nacional. She is on the Regional Board of Banco de Mexico as well as on the board of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. She is a shareholder and board member of Juárez Fútbol Club (Bravos Mayor Soccer League Team). She is a board member of Fundación del Empresario Chihuahuense, the Museo del Barrio in New York, ITESM and EISAC.

Miguel Dueñas, B’66, P’99, P’99– El Salvador: Founder of Dueñas Hermanos Ltda. He is a member of the conglomerate Dueñas Hermanos y Compañia and Roberto Dueñas Limitada, which along with its subsidiaries, operates in a variety of industries in El Salvador ranging from real estate and cement to retail.

Alvaro Fernandez Garza, MBA ‘95 -Mexico: President and chief executive officer of Alfa S.A.B de C.V. Mr. Fernández Garza is the president of Alfa since 2010. He joined Alfa in 1991. He served as the chief executive officer and president at Sigma Alimentos, S. A. de C. V. He served as the vice-president of Consumer Small Business Market of Alestra, S. de R.L. de C.V.

Ernesto Fernández Holmann, C’62– Nicaragua: Chair of Grupo Ayucus and founder of Grupo Financiero Uno, a commercial bank that provides various financial services in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. He served as chair and CEO of the company until its acquisition by Citigroup in 2007.

Enrique García - Bolivia: Former executive president of CAF - Development Bank of Latin America.(1991-2017). He is the president of the Council of International Relations of Latin America (RIAl), and member of several boards and advisory councils internationally. Previously, he served as minister of planning and chief of the Economic and Social Cabinet of the Bolivian Council of Ministers, and as treasurer of the Inter-American Development Bank. 

Fernando Gentil, P’09, P’12– Brazil: Partner and founder of the Private Equity Practice at G5 Evercore. Previously, he was the managing director of Darby Private Equity in Brazil, managing director of Swiss Re’s non-life reinsurance business and structured finance operations, and managing director of ING Baring’s investment banking and corporate finance activities in the Americas. He is also a Board Member of TAESA, the largest power transmission company in Brazil, and of Crescent Electric, one of the largest electrical equipment distribution companies in the U.S.

Rolando Gonzalez-Bunster, C’68, P’00, P’05, P’14, P’16– Argentina: Chairman and chief executive officer of InterEnergy Holdings. Prior, he founded and managed InterEnergy’s predecessor, Basic Energy Ltd. (Bahamas), a holding  company that owns and operates electrical generation and distribution assets in the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Jamaica. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Clinton Foundation, the Energy & Climate Committee of the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Institute of the Americas.

Dionisio Gutierrez – Guatemala: Guatemalan philanthropist, sociologist, and president of the Fundación Libertad y Desarrollo. Gutierrez is a former president and current board member of Corporación Multi Inversiones (CMI), as well as founder and trustee of the School of Government and former president of the Chamber of Free Enterprise in Guatemala. 

Diego Herrera, B’94– Guatemala: Chief executive officer of The Pantaleon Group, Inc., a family held corporation founded in 1848 with interests in sugar production, energy, and shopping malls, which currently operates in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Brazil. Prior to joining Pantaleon, Mr. Herrera served as managing partner with Atlas Vivienda, a Mexican real estate development company, where he remains a board member, and worked in the investment banking group of Paribas in New York. 

Samuel Lewis, B’79, P’18– Panama: First vice president and foreign minister of Panama from September 2004 to July 2009. He is a businessman, politician, and author of essays and articles about the political, economic, and social development of Panama. Former president of multiple companies such as Empaques de Colon, the ELE Group, Northsound Corporation, Red Crown Corporation, and Calder International, Lewis has served on the boards of various industrial, real estate, farming, and investment companies.

Jose Lima P’21, P’24 - Brazil: Mr. Lima has 30 years of experience in the energy industry and continues to serve on various boards in an advisory capacity for energy businesses including (previously) Petrobras Brasileiro SA and Prumo Logistics. He is also a Managing Director for Quartz Energy Partners LLC. He served as Vice President of NBD and Ventures of Shell Chemicals from 2012 until May 2016. Mr. Lima holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and an MBA in Business Administration from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos José Martí – Dominican Republic: Chief executive officer of Marti Petroleum Group, the largest fuel distributer in the Dominican Republic, which owns and operates Tropigas Dominicana, Tropigas Natural, Sunix Petroleum, Metro Gas, Tropigas Foundation, and the national representation for Volvo and Texaco.

Gally Mayer, B’93– Costa Rica: Executive vice president of business development for Jerusalem Venture Partners. Mayer worked in task forces created by former U.S. presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton on education and innovation. She collaborated with organizations including Urban Zen Foundation, the Making Waves Foundation, the Association to Benefit Children, Action for Solidarity, and the Many Hats Institute.

Lorenzo A. Mendoza, P’15, P’16, P’17, P’19, P’22– Venezuela: Chief executive officer of Empresas Polar, Venezuela’s largest food company. Prior to taking over at Empresas Polar, Lorenzo was an executive in the merger and acquisitions department of J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co. Ltd in London, and worked as an executive in the corporate banking department of Citicorp/Citibank in New York.

Miguel Mendoza, P’23- Venezuela: Mr. Mendoza is the founder and chief executive officer of Power Infrastructure. He has over 20+ years’ experience in the energy and infrastructure industries including oil & gas, power generation, distribution, and renewables with a special focus on Emerging Markets. Mr. Mendoza holds an MBA from The Columbia Business School in New York, and a Masters in Finance from the London Business School (LBS) in England. He also holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from the Law Center at the University of Houston in Texas, a Master of Law (LLM) from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a Law Degree from the Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Mendoza is a member of the Board of Junior Achievement in Argentina and a member of the Acquisition Committee of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (Malba) in Buenos Aires.

Christian Mürrle, B'80, P'24 - Colombia: Managing director and principal of PanAmCap, LLC, a company he founded which sources investment and merchant banking opportunities in the U.S. and Latin America. From 2002-2016, Mr. Mürrle was a principal at PanAmerican Capital, LLC, a company he created with his business partner, which also focused on investment opportunities in Latin America. Mr. Mürrle sits on the Board of Directors of the Colombian American Association, a 93-year- old organization which promotes investment and commerce between the United States and Colombia, and for which Mr. Mürrle served as President for over a decade. He is a past board member of AID FOR AIDS and past Honorary Consul of Sweden in Cali, Colombia.

Nelson Ortiz, P’11, P’13– Venezuela: Founding partner Incus Capital a private equity fund with operations in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Ortiz is a former president of Caracas Stock Exchange, technical secretary of the Economic Cabinet of Venezuela, president of the Venezuelan Council for Investment Promotion, president of the Venezuelan Baseball League, and vice-chairman of IESA.

Alejandro Poma, P'24 - El Salvador: Director of Grupo Poma, a Salvadoran based Multilatina with interests in automotive retail, parts, service and finance; hospitality; real estate development; construction materials and architectural products and investments. Mr. Poma is a board member of Fundacion Salvadoreña para la Salud y Desarrollo Human (FUSAL) and INCAE Business School, and serves as President of the Salvadoran National Committee of INCAE, Central America’s leading graduate business school. Mr. Poma is a member of the inaugural class of the Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI); an Aspen Institute program designed to develop young leaders in regions around the globe and part of the broader Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) and for many years has been a member of the Salvadoran chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). In 2010 he was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.

Philippe Stiernon, B´03, MBA´15- Colombia: Founder, CEO, and managing partner of ROAM Capital. He manages all core fund marketing mandates and spearheads relationships with prospective LPs on behalf of the firm’s clients, particularly with respect to senior decision-makers at pension funds. Prior to founding ROAM, Philippe served as Co-Head of Investor Relations at Teka Capital, a Latin American private equity fund based in Bogota, Colombia. He also served as Director of Investor Relations at Aramid Asset Management, a hedge fund in London and spent five years working for Merrill Lynch’s Private Wealth Management division in New York and Miami helping ultra-high net worth clients structure and invest their wealth, particularly with respect to their alternative investment allocations.

Andrés Tesak, B’95– El Salvador: Executive at Bocadeli, a snack producer that operates in almost all countries in Central America, the United States, and the Dominican Republic. He was named honorary consul of El Salvador to Hungary by the national Congress in 2012. The Tessak family are the patrons of the Cultural Center Pablo Tessak, which promotes social unity and child development through educational and cultural initiatives.

Christina Hacker de Trápaga, C’97 – Puerto Rico: Director and Shareholder of TraFon Group Inc., a leading food distributor in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Co-founder and director of Proyecto Lonchera, an initiative that promotes healthy eating habits among students in the Puerto Rico public school system. Hacker is also a board member for the reconstruction of Iglesia San José, the second oldest church in the Americas.