Martens named Mexican energy minister

Mexican president-elect Vicente Fox, who takes office Dec. 1, has named former Cintra Airlines chief Ernesto Martens as his energy minister. Martens is a chemical engineer with 35 years of experience with manufacturing firms. Fox has yet to name a president for Petroleos Mexicanos.


Mexican president-elect Vicente Fox, who takes office Dec. 1, has named former Cintra Airlines chief Ernesto Martens as his energy minister.

In elections last July, Fox's conservative National Action Party ousted the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) from the presidency for the first time in 71 years.

Fox's choice of Martens appeared to be a last minute decision.

Martens, 67, from Veracruz state, received a chemical engineering degree from Monterrey Technical Institute and attended Harvard Business School.

He worked 18 years for Union Carbide Corp. and 17 years for Grupo Vitro, a flax glass manufacturer, before going to Cintra, the holding company for two Mexican airlines. Martens was Cintra's general director until a year ago.

At one time it appeared Fox might leave Energy Minister Luis Tellez in office. Tellez had been instrumental in working with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Mexico is not a member, to reduce world oil production and enable prices to recover.

Fausto Alzati, an economist who worked on energy policy issues in Fox's transition team, also was thought to be a likely candidate for energy minister. Alzati still could be named president of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the government oil company. Another candidate to replace Rogelio Montemayor as Pemex president was believed to be Ernesto Marcos, a former Pemex financial officer.

Fox named economic several ministers to oversee his program of fiscal discipline. Banker-businessman Francisco Gil Diaz was named Finance Minister. Luis Ernesto Derbez, formerly a World Bank official, will oversee a new Economy Ministry formed from trade and small business agencies.

More in Production Operations