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Bogotá, August 12, 2015 (FNC Press Office) – After a rigorous selection process based on the principles of openness, suitability, transparency, impartiality, and democracy, Colombian coffee growers elected today Roberto Vélez as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC).

The unanimous election took place during the 81st National (Extraordinary) Congress of Coffee Growers, attended by the delegates of coffee producers from all over the country.

Vélez Vallejo was elected after taking part in a process described in Colombia and abroad as outstanding; it began on July 2 with the publication of the new CEO’s desired profile, as defined by the Coffee Growers Steering Committee.

Josué Martínez, president of the 81st National (Extraordinary) Congress of Coffee Growers, spoke on behalf of the country’s coffee growers, emphasizing the process of electing the new FNC CEO.

“We have once again confirmed the features of a strong and important organization; one that is democratic, transparent, and participatory,” Martinez said.

The new CEO committed to working together with coffee growers for the FNC’s unity and sustainability of the coffee sector, prioritizing well-being of over 500,000 coffee-growing families.

“We will continue moving forward to achieve our goals. Colombian coffee growers can remain assured that every day and during the whole day we will be working toward improving their quality of life. Coffee growers are the driving force behind all of our actions,” Vélez said in a moving speech, thanking all coffee growers for their support and trust in giving him the responsibility of leading the most important agricultural union in Colombia.

Vélez also thanked the Colombian government for supporting the sector and facilitating the process of electing the new FNC CEO.

At the closing of the Extraordinary Congress, the Colombian Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Mauricio Cárdenas, stressed that, “The election of the 11th CEO of the FNC reflects and represents the renovation of the coffee institutions.”

Cárdenas stressed that the new CEO knows the coffee grower base and the institutional value, and reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to seeing the FNC succeed.

Brief profile of the new FNC CEO

Roberto Vélez Vallejo

Vélez Vallejo is an economist from the Universidad del Rosario (Colombia), with postgraduate education at the University of Brighton, England, and New York University.

He recently represented Colombia as Ambassador to Japan. He was also Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Vélez Vallejo worked at the FNC for 20 years, where, among other positions, he served as Director in Asia and Chief Commercial Officer.

The selection process

After the resignation of Luis G. Muñoz as the FNC CEO in May, the institution began a process to elect its new CEO under principles, criteria, and procedures clearly established by the FNC bylaws.

After assessing a list of 19 candidates who responded to an open call, the Coffee Growers Steering Committee selected eight candidates on July 15 with the best profile to represent Colombian coffee growers according to the established criteria.

From this list of eight candidates, the National Coffee Growers Committee (made up of representatives of the country’s 15 departmental committees and the Colombian Ministers of Finance; Agriculture and Rural Development; Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and the National Planning Director) defined a shortlist of three candidates on July 21 – Adriana Mejía, Roberto Vélez, and Luis Guillermo Vélez – which was presented to the National Congress of Coffee Growers, the highest FNC decision-making body. Finally, they elected Vélez Vallejo as the new CEO.

The three candidates from the shortlist had identical opportunities to present and explain their proposals to coffee growers and their delegates across the country. To do so, the FNC provided spaces and channels to each and supported them for tours and meetings with all the departmental coffee grower committees.

It is worth highlighting that the election took place respectfully and harmoniously regarding candidates, something that undoubtedly contributed to quality of interactions and discussions with coffee growers.