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Climbing the Corporate Ladder Featured

Private sector, federal government appoint new executives

This edition of Climbing the Corporate Ladder includes executive appointments at the Bravo Family Foundation, the U.S. Small Business Administration, MCS, StoneMor and AON.

Blanca Santos

Bravo Family Foundation names new executive director
Bravo Family Foundation announced the appointment of Blanca Santos as its new executive director. Santos, who has more than 24 years of experience working in public, private, and nonprofit sectors, started her work at the foundation as chief financial officer.

“During the past months, amid significant adversity, she has executed our programs to the highest standards and has led the Foundation with clarity, conviction and purpose,” said Orlando Bravo, Founder of Bravo Family Foundation.

Santos has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, and a master’s degree in finance from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico. In her professional career, she has been operations officer, financial and executive director for educational, telecommunications, and environmental organizations. She is a certified project management professional.

The Bravo Family Foundation has maintained its commitment to the Rising Entrepreneurs program, and the Exceptional Community Leaders program.

María de los Ángeles de Jesús

SBA appoints acting district director
María de los Ángeles de Jesús, who eight years ago joined the U.S. Small Business Administration as deputy director of the Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands district office, has been appointed acting district director, Regional Administrator Steven Bulger announced.

“One of the greatest assets the SBA has is its people, especially those with respected agency tenure and on-the-ground knowledge like María,” said Bulger, who oversees the federal agency’s operations in the Atlantic Region of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, New York and New Jersey.

“She’s a lifelong resident of Puerto Rico and knows the small business community across the area intimately, he said. “Her leadership and know-how will help small business owners rebuild and recover while continuing to power the economies of Puerto Rico and the USVI.”  

De Jesús began her career with the federal government at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Puerto Rico State Office, where she served for 27 years prior to joining the SBA in 2012.

During her last seven years with USDA, de Jesús held the title of business and cooperative program director, managing a commercial loan guaranty program with a $25 million loan limit, as well as federal grants to create and save jobs through commercial initiatives.

Lourdes De Cárdenas

MCS hires executive vice president of innovation
Lourdes M. De Cárdenas-Alfonso has been named MCS’s executive vice president of innovation, MCS CEO Jim O’Drobinak announced.

Prior to joining MCS, DeCardenas served as vice president of global manufacturing at Stryker Instruments, managing more than 10 manufacturing facilities worldwide, including plants in Japan, Mexico, continental Europe, Ireland, the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

She also served as vice president of the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association and is a member of the Alliance for Economic Development.

De Cárdenas has more than 34 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, having led multiple manufacturing facilities throughout the world. This includes high-caliber companies such as Stryker, Eli Lilly, Astra-Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Warner-Lambert and others. She has a bachelor’s degree in Science, with a concentration in Chemistry (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras campus, and a PhD with a concentration in Physical Organic Chemistry from Purdue University in Indiana.

Given the prevailing challenges on the island, MCS is focused on identifying opportunities for improvement within its organization, while maximizing efficiency in all its resources.

Coming from the manufacturing industry, which is governed by the highest standards of operational quality and efficiency in the world, De Cárdenas will be working hand-in-hand with the best healthcare team in the medical plan segment, O’Drobinak said.

Fred Gautier-Lugo

StoneMor names GM for Puerto Rico operations
Funeral and cemetery services company StoneMor Inc. announced the appointment of Fred Gautier-Lugo as the new general manager for its seven cemeteries and four funeral homes in Puerto Rico.

Gautier-Lugo, a professional with more than 20 years of experience in the banking and insurance industry, was human resources manager for Popular Inc. and Assurant Solutions and until 2019 served as a lawyer at the Navas, Rodriguez & Hernández law firm. As a consultant, he has experience in the banking, healthcare, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries.

Among his responsibilities, in keeping with the circumstances that the people of Puerto Rico are experiencing, are to “play a fundamental role in strengthening the brand and service of each of StoneMor’s properties in Puerto Rico,” the company said.

He has a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in Psychology from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico and a Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico.

Eduardo Criado-Gierbolini

Aon names new CEO for P.R., Caribbean, Venezuela
Professional services firm Aon plc announced the appointment of Eduardo J. Criado-Gierbolini as the new CEO of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Venezuela.

A professional with more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, Criado-Gierbolini was founding president of Popular Risk Services until April 2018 and recently served as senior vice president of business development. In addition, he has experience in the area of banking, insurance premium financing and compliance.

Among his responsibilities, he will play a fundamental role in strengthening the Aon brand in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean region and Venezuela, building a culture that fosters the exchange of best practices and that promotes positive business results for customers, maintaining the constant growth of the company and creating more opportunities for colleagues.

He holds a Bachelor of Finance and an Associate in Management from Bentley University in Waltham, MA and is designated as a Certified Insurance Counselor of the National Alliance.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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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