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Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Executive posts filled at Wyndham Palmas, Subway, Banesco, NUC

This week’s edition of Climbing the Corporate Ladder includes professional appointments in the areas of hospitality, education, and banking, among others.

From left: Sam Hugli, Amarilys Vázquez, recently appointed vice president of finance, Yia Medina and Rubén Rodríguez.

Wyndham Palmas Golf and Beach Resort builds on exec. team
Hospitality investment firm LionGrove and Andro Nodarse-León, the company’s CEO, announced new appointments at their recently acquired property, Wyndham Palmas Beach and Golf Resort in Humacao.

These appointments include with Rubén Rodríguez named vice president of sales and marketing and Chef ‘Yia’ Medina as executive chef.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Rubén and Yia to the LionGrove team and specially at Wyndham Palmas executive team,” said Nordase-Leon. “We look forward to their contributions and leadership as we continue to elevate the unforgettable experiences at Wyndham Palmas.”

Rodriguez has previously served as dommercial Director of sales and marketing, US and English Caribbean Cluster for Meliá Hotels International among other properties including Washington DC’s Watergate Hotel, San Antonio, TX’s La Cantera Resort and Spa, and Miami Beach’s own historic landmark Eden Roc Hotel. 

With more than 20 years in the hospitality sales and marketing space, Rodríguez brings “a solid history of success, performance and community engagement in the global hospitality industry environment,” hotel officials said.

Meanwhile, Medina will oversee the development and menu planning of the resort’s restaurant, as well as the overall culinary programming, including in-room dining services and private events. Prior to joining Wyndham Palmas, Medina was serving as Chef de Cuisine for Eately in Dallas.

“For us at Wyndham Palmas, having the opportunity to create this team, elevate our offerings and fulfil not only to our guest also to the community of Palmas del Mar is our goal for the upcoming season,” said Samuel Hügli, operations vice president.

The executives started on site in October 2021.

Vivian Arthur

Vivian Arthur recognized as ‘Distinguished Public Relations Professional’
During the latest edition of the Puerto Rico Public Relations Professionals Association’s Excel awards, Vivian Arthur, vice president of Corporate Communications at Medical Card System (MCS), was recognized as “Distinguished Public Relations Professional of the Year” for her achievements and contributions to both the community and the strategic communications of licensed public relations professionals in Puerto Rico.

The special Excel award represents one of the highest honors granted by this organization, recognizing the recipient’s career, performance, and contributions, as well as the person’s ethical and professional behavior as a public relations professional throughout the years.   

“We’re very proud to recognize Vivian Arthur for her career and performance. We’re personally familiar with her spirit of helping others, her commitment to her profession, effective communication and above all, Puerto Rico’s healthcare sector. At MCS, we celebrate her achievement, and are proud to have her on our team. Congratulations!” said Ramón L. del Valle, senior vice president of Marketing and Corporate Communications at MCS.

To be a candidate and deserving of the special annual distinguished public relations award, candidates must be nominated by one of their peers, and can only be those professionals who have at least ten years of experience and continuous success in the field of public relations. From several nominees, Arthur was selected by a panel of judges who are experts in communication and public relations.  

Before taking over her position at MCS in 2021, Arthur worked as a senior consultant in integrated public relations for several for-profit and nonprofit brands, locally and internationally, and has more than 23 years of experience in the public relations field in the corporate world.

Her vast career, verticality, professionalism, and human sensitivity have been common denominators in each of her professional achievements and contributions to the community and the profession — specifically, her contribution to the gradual creation of a society that is more sensitive to the needs of the elderly. This has been evident throughout her career, given her work at companies in the healthcare sector, as well as nonprofit organizations, MCS officials said.  

Arthur graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, and from Sacred Heart University, where she earned a master’s degree in public relations.

Calixto Garcia-Velez

Banesco USA names García-Vélez as new president and CEO
Banesco USA’s Board of Directors announced the appointment of Calixto (Cali) García-Vélez as president and CEO.

A Miami native, García-Vélez is an experienced banker in the South Florida and Puerto Rico markets with vast knowledge of the banking industry.

“Cali’s successful track record is an ideal match for the bank’s appetite for growth. His appointment also reinforces the bank’s commitment to our local communities as well as delivery of outstanding service to our clients,” said Carlos Palomares, chairman of Banesco USA.

Since 2009, García-Vélez served as the executive vice president of First BanCorp and as regional executive of FirstBank Florida, a subsidiary of First BanCorp. He oversaw the management and operations for FirstBank Florida.

“I’m excited to enhance and continue building upon Banesco USA’s unique value proposition and strengths,” said García-Vélez. “Given the recent industry consolidation, we have a great opportunity to increase our market share in our targeted lines of business including commercial, corporate, real estate, and consumer banking for both domestic and international clients.”

Prior to FirstBank, García-Vélez worked for Citibank, where he served in several roles that included: President of Citibank Florida, and business manager across several markets in the United States. He also served as president and CEO of the former Doral Bank in Puerto Rico.

García-Vélez is a graduate of the University of Miami, where he received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He has been involved in his community for many years, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Miami, The Beacon Council, the Alliance for South Florida National Parks Trust, and was recently named to the Florida Bankers Association Board of Directors. He also serves as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.

Jesús Rodríguez

Subway names new director of public relations for LatAm/Caribbean
Multinational fast food chain Subway announced it has consolidated its areas of public relations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and internal communications “to create greater synergy between them and better serve communication needs and information on its network of franchisees in the region.”

To lead the consolidated duties, it has appointed Jesús Rodríguez as Director of Public Relations, CSR and Corporate Communications for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rodríguez will oversee external and internal communications, the development and execution of public relations programs, and the coordination of sustainability programs of the company at the regional level, as well as the management of regional agencies that provide support to the brand.

Rodríguez has more than 25 years of experience in communication for public and private sector organizations. He has proven leadership in the food industry and in Latin America, and joined Subway in May 2019, following a seven-year experience at Mondelēz International.

He also worked in public relations agencies at an international level and until now, he was the manager of public relations and sustainability for Subway in that region.

Rodríguez has an MBA with a specialization in international business from Barry University and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Florida International University.

Daliana Rivera-Rivera

NUC University appoints VP of operations for Puerto Rico
Michael Bannet, president of NUC University, announced the appointment of Daliana Rivera-Rivera as vice president of operations for Puerto Rico, effective immediately.

She has a long career in the educational field in Puerto Rico and has worked at NUC University for the past 29 years. Prior to her appointment, she served as rector of the Bayamón region at the institution.

Rivera-Rivera began her career at NUC University (formerly National University College) in 1992, in areas such as Admissions and Registration, moving on to Institutional Effectiveness and eventually rector of the Bayamón Campus. Her professional profile shows that Rivera-Rivera has witnessed the evolution and history of NUC University, Bannet said.

Rivera-Rivera has a doctorate degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s in Business Administration in Management and a master’s in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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