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Climbing the Corporate Ladder Featured

Executive appointments at FirstBank, Uber, Ernst & Young

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This edition of Climbing the Corporate ladder features executive appointments in several industries, namely banking, a ride-share company and an accounting firm.

Sara Álvarez

FirstBank announces trio of new executives
FirstBank CEO Aurelio Alemán announced the following appointments to the institution’s executive group: Sara Álvarez, as executive vice president and general counsel; Juan Carlos Pavía, as executive vice president and chief credit officer; and Lilian Díaz as executive vice president and business group executive.

Álvarez, who served as assistant legal officer and secretary of the Board of Directors, is now executive vice president and general counsel, while continuing to serve in her role as secretary of the Board of Directors. Lawrence Odell, who held that position for 15 years, recently retired.

Álvarez joined FirstBank in 2003 as a Certified Public Accountant and tax manager in the Finance Group after graduating from the University of Puerto Rico in 1997 and having worked in one of the Big Four public accounting firms. During her career at FirstBank, Álvarez has distinguished herself for dealing with complex sale and acquisition transactions and has been instrumental in multiple capital actions.

Within the Finance Department, she took on several positions, including assistant comptroller. After completing her Juris Doctor from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico in 2005, she continued her professional career at FirstBank as a lawyer and joined the Legal Division in 2007, carrying out different roles, including corporate affairs officer, assistant general counsel, assistant secretary of the Board of Directors and secretary of the Board of Directors.

Juan Carlos Pavía

Pavía, who was the chief credit risk officer, has been appointed to the executive group as executive vice president and chief credit officer. In this new role, in addition to Credit Underwriting and the Appraisal Unit, he will continue managing the Credit Administration and Closing Unit, and Special Assets units. Emilio Martinó, who served as executive vice president and chief lending officer, also retired after 19 years of service at the institution.

Pavía, who joined FirstBank in 2014, has brought the use of technology to the forefront, creating a robust credit risk framework to enable the sound growth of the loan portfolios across all segments. After graduating from George Washington University in 2003, he held positions of leadership in other financial institutions and within the government of Puerto Rico.

Lilian Díaz

Díaz, who joins the executive group as part of the acquired operations, was appointed as executive vice president and business group executive, in charge of Retail, Small Business, Commercial Transaction Banking, and Prime Banking businesses.

Díaz has more than 30 years of banking experience. In 2003, she joined Banco Santander in charge of the development of several business areas, including Retail Banking, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Small and Medium Businesses, Insurance, Telephone Banking, Payment Methods, and Mortgages. Prior to joining Santander, she had various roles at Scotiabank and The First National Bank of Boston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a major in Finance from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

“These appointments further strengthen our executive group and reinforce diversity with high caliber professionals who have solid experience in the banking industry, which, in turn, will continue to solidify our path of leadership and growth,” said Alemán.

Victor Jaen

Uber appoints new GM for Panama, Caribbean
Uber announced the appointment of Victor Jaen as the new general manager for Panama and the Caribbean as part of the app’s commitment to support post pandemic economic reactivation processes.

Jaen will lead a team focused on strengthening the role of the Uber app through continuous innovation. His objective is to collaborate with cities in their recovery and provide users with mobility options that allow them to adapt to the new normal.

“I am excited to take on this new role. We have a great team in the region full of talented people who want to continue to improve the user and partner driver experience in the cities where the app is available,” Jaen said.

Among the first projects that he is undertaking is the expansion of Uber to Jamaica; and in the Dominican Republic, the launch of the women’s empowerment program, “Juntas al Volante,” which aims to offer greater opportunities to female drivers registered on the platform.

Jaen’s years at Uber have shown him the potential of technology, especially in times of crisis. For this reason, he considers vital the development of initiatives that allow partner drivers to obtain more opportunities to earn extra in a flexible and safe way.

“My vision for Uber in the region is rooted in a reinforced commitment to app safety and reliability. In the wake of the pandemic, we will continue to innovate and elevate the Uber app experience for riders and partner drivers across the region,” the executive noted.

The executive joined Uber in 2016 as part of the activation centers team and later, he was Senior Manager of Operations and Logistics for the region. Jaen has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Technological University of Panama and a Master’s degree in Engineering from The University of British Columbia.

Alex Rodríguez

Ernst & Young San Juan names new office managing partner
Ernst & Young LLP recently announced the appointment of Alex Rodríguez to San Juan Office managing partner, where he will be responsible for engaging 100+ EY professionals, creating high-performing teams and enhancing the EY brand in the market.

The new role is effective July 1, 2021, as Rodríguez succeeds Arturo Ondina, who has held the position since 2008 and will be retiring after 33 years with EY. The two have closely collaborated over the past year to transition the role.

“It’s bittersweet to end my tenure at EY having spent so many years growing personally and professionally with this firm,” said Ondina. “It has been a privilege to lead the San Juan team through trials and triumphs, including the continuous growth of our practices. I have the utmost confidence in Alex’s leadership and look forward to watching his success.”

EY also announced the opening of a new office space at the Parque las Americas building, offering professionals the opportunity to return to an improved physical office space. The new space is the latest implementation of the EY@Work initiative, emphasizing the firm’s continued commitment to increase collaboration and drive a continued focus on work-life balance. The EY future working model will be a hybrid one that spans in-office and remote working based on EY client, people and team needs.

Heading the transition into the new office space, Rodríguez has held a number of roles in his 22 years with the firm, most recently leading the Puerto Rico Assurance practice. His experience includes serving a wide range of clients across government agencies, privately held entrepreneurial companies and multinational corporations in various sectors — which he has helped work through a broad range of complex accounting and reporting issues.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to continue to build a better working world with the talent and tenacity of the San Juan office,” said Rodríguez. “The resiliency and dedication this team has shown is truly inspiring, and I know we will forge forward to support the community, our clients and each other day in and day out.”

Rodríguez has worked in the EY San Juan and EY Atlanta offices. He has been a part of the firm’s Assurance Quality Review Program and has performed reviews in more than six different countries. Rodríguez served as the president of the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs ethics committee and is a former board member of the Puerto Rico State Society of Public Accountants.

He is active in various civic organizations, including the United Way and the Atención Atención Foundation. Alex is also leading the EY Digital Divide initiative in Puerto Rico, taking action against inequality in education by helping bridge the learning gap which became more apparent when schools moved online in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Rodríguez lives in San Juan with his family.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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