Retrofits & Upgrades

Puerto Rico’s Grid Authority loses yet another CEO

Well, it didn’t take long for Puerto Rico’s troubled grid authority to lose more leadership late last week.

Rafael Díaz Granados resigned as CEO of the state-run PREPA just a day after his appointment was announced last week. Granados and a majority of PREPA board stepped down Thursday amidst calls for reduced executive salaries at the grid authority which has yet to fully restore the Puerto Rican grid some 10 months after Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello named two new board members Friday. Eli Diaz and Ralph Kreil will be chair and vice chair, respectively, and the board hopes to name yet another new CEO sometime this week.

Granados, who was going to make $750,000, was appointed after his successor, Walter Higgins, resigned earlier this month following only four months in the PREPA CEO role. Five of the seven board members also stepped down.

Granados was going to take his position effective Sunday, so now the island government is scrambling to find someone to guide the restructuring. He previously served in positions for General Electric in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, was executive director for GE in Mexico, and attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Previous CEO Ricardo Ramos stepped down last November following an outcry over a $300 million restoration contract awarded to a tiny Company in Montana.

Higgins himself replaced an interim director after Ramos and was criticized for a $450,000 annual salary in a island territory still trying to emerge from an 11-year recession.

Last month, government officials questioned why Higgins awarded a $315,000 contract to a consultant without authorization from certain government agencies. They demanded an explanation and later said they were satisfied with the response from the power company’s board of directors, which noted it had hired the consultant instead of filling the position for an executive sub-director of administration and finance.