The 'day-old' chief executive of the Puerto Rico Utility, Rafael Diaz-Granados, has resigned. Five of the seven board members will also be leaving with him, leaving the utility in a leadership crisis.
The resignation comes after Governor Ricardo Rossello condemned the board for agreeing to Diaz-Granados’ $750,000 per annum salary, stating it’s "not proportional to the financial condition of PREPA, to the fiscal situation of the government, or to the feeling of the people who are making sacrifices to raise Puerto Rico."
Furthermore, those who resigned have refused to participate in the political agendas of others and wanted to retain control of the transformation process.
The utility has been undergoing restructuring after Hurricane Maria devastated the power transmission and distribution infrastructure, leaving 1.5 million without power. The storm exposed the desperate need for maintenance and revenue collection.
No less than four CEO’s have passed through the utility since Hurricane Maria.
According to PREPA Chair Ernesto Sgroi, one of those who resigned: “It will be difficult to carry that company without a strong board and strong CEO - to effectively run that company separate from government influence - that is the main factor in trying to transform PREPA.”
He added that the resignations will allow the governor to “choose board members that are more in tune with his agenda.”
PREPA currently has more than $14 billion in liabilities and is going through a privatisation process.
The governor said he would act quickly to name replacements, and officials said they expected the new board would appoint another CEO by the end of the week.