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 Latin American Board

Ignacio Alvarez – 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 – Chile: 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 – Paraguay: CEO at Bebidas del Paraguay S.A., a joint venture between the Cartes Group and CCU, a Chilean company controlled by Heineken and the Luksic family holding, Quiñenco. Since 2013, Francisco has served as economic advisor to Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, and as strategic projects coordinator at the Centro de Gobierno. He serves on several boards of directors, in diverse businesses including beverages, tobacco, quick service restaurants, real estate development and hospitality.

Alberto Beeck – 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 Largo Resources Ltd., Industria Works, DB Andean Towers, WE Family Offices Holdings, and Endeavor Miami. He is a 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.

Mario Canahuati – 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.

Gerardo Chapa – Mexico: Managing director and founding member of Global Financial Services and GFS Advisors. Previously, he was associated with Kidder Peabody, Goldman Sachs, and Banpais.

Miguel Dueñas – 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-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 – 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.

Luis Fortuño – Puerto Rico: Former governor of Puerto Rico. Fortuño is a partner in Steptoe’s D.C. office, where he is a member of the Corporate, Securities & Finance Group and the Government Affairs and Public Policy Group, representing companies in regulatory, public policy, public-private partnership (P3) and project finance, finance, and other corporate matters in the United States and throughout Latin America.

Enrique García R- 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 – 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 – 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 – 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. 

Alejandro Legorreta – Mexico: Chairman of Sabino Capital, a private research and investment group, founder and chairman of VIF Institute, and co-founder of the Fundación Legorreta Hernández for social development in Mexico. Legorreta is a member of the Board of Directors of Accival and Afore Banamex.

Samuel Lewis – Panama (Chairman): 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.

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– 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 – 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.

Nelson Ortiz – 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.

Rafael Rangel – Mexico: Presidential professor of practice for education innovation and special advisor to the president of Arizona State University. Former president of Tec de Monterrey System from 1985 to 2011. When he left, Tec had four sub-systems: Tecnológico de Monterrey, with 97,000 students; Virtual University with over 13,000 graduate students; TecMilenio University, with 35,000 students; and a Health System. He received 6 Honorary doctoral degrees from Universities in the USA and Canada.

Andrés Tessak – 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 – 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.

Juan Paulo Treviño – Mexico: Former director of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, a subsidiary of Heineken International. In spring 2016, he stepped down to a consulting role to concentrate on his own business. He previously worked with FEMSA, a Mexican multinational beverage and retail company headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico.

Sergio Zappa – Brazil: Former executive director at Unibanco, today part of Itaú Unibanco, Brazil's largest private sector financial conglomerate. Previously worked for the International Finance Corporation - IFC (World Bank Group), in Washington DC, and for Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES). More recently, has been associated with Banco Finantia, a leading Portuguese Investment Bank, as its Brazilian representative and was a managing partner at Rio Bravo, a local investment firm.