Peru: Kuczynski picks former finance minister for Cabinet chief

By July 11, 2016

President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has selected Fernando Zavala, an economist with experience in the public and private sectors, as his Cabinet chief.

Kuczynski confirmed media speculation on Friday that Zavala would head the Cabinet of his government which begins on July 28, Peru’s Independence Day.

“[Zavala] is a person with deep knowledge of what happens in Peru, of how public administration works, which is very important because if you do not know how the public administration works, you cannot make it work,” Kuczynski said.

“Part of my role is to bring PPK’s proposals to the other political parties, to seek a minimum consensus among parties on the three main themes of crime, employment and modernizing government,” Zavala told RPP. “A minimum consensus that will allow us to move forward.”

Zavala’s appointment as Cabinet chief was saluted by politicians of all stripes.

“I know Fernando Zavala. He is a successful professional, good economist, he knows how to listen, he has social sensitivity and above all is a very good person,” liberal presidential candidate Yehude Simon tweeted after Kuczynski’s announcement.

Leaders from Popular Force, APRA and the ruling Nationalist Party as well as former President Alejandro Toledo also praised Kuczynski’s choice of Zavala. Leftist congressman Marco Arana, however, signaled a confrontational position to the new government.

“Kuczynski’s new Cabinet will have Zavala as chief, confirming Peru’s revolving door policy. We still must see policies!” Arana tweeted.

Zavala worked as deputy finance minister under Kuczynski during the government of former President Toledo from 2002 to 2005. When Toledo moved Kuczynski to Cabinet chief in 2005, Zavala took over as finance minister until the end of Toledo’s government in 2006.

Zavala returned to the private sector after his post as finance minister. He worked for Peru’s leading brewery Backus y Johnston, a subsidiary of SABMiller, as vice president of strategy. In 2009 SABMiller made him CEO of its subsidiary in Panama and, in 2013, returned to Peru as head of Backus y Johnston.

Zavala also worked at Samtronics Peru and the public opinion consultancy, Apoyo. He has served as a director on the boards of Interbank, Alicorp, Inmobiliaria IDE, Banco Falabella, Enersur and more.

Zavala also worked for five years as a general manager of Indecopi, Peru’s state trade commission. He served as a director on the boards of state firms including the COFIDE state development bank and the Promperu tourism board. He has represented Peru at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the CAF Development Bank of the Americas.

Kuczynski had confirmed economist Alfredo Thorne as his finance minister soon after winning the election.


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