Alejandro Betancourt López (born 1980) is a Venezuelan businessman who serves as Chairman and CEO of Derwick Associates, an engineering, procurement and construction company. He is the leader of the international investment group O'Hara Administration, and a director of Pacific Exploration & Production Corporation, a publicly held Canadian company and a leading explorer and producer of natural gas and crude oil which operates in various Latin American countries. Betancourt controls 19.95% of Pacific Exploration & Production. He is also president of Hawkers, a Spanish sunglasses company.
Personal life and early career
Betancourt has a double major in Economics and Business Administration from the Suffolk University of Massachusetts, United States.
Betancourt started his career in a company specializing in the energy sector and in the exploration, production and trade oil and its derivatives, with presence in the U.S., Europe, Middle East, South America and Africa. He has served as business manager for Latin America. He later worked in Guruceaga Group, a company dedicated to international trade in goods, finance, real estate and farm, of which he was manager of new business; and BGB Energy, a company that was responsible for representing, in joint venture with the old GESCA GAS in Venezuela, international corporation Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Betancourt is a decedent of Hermógenes López, the former acting president of Venezuela.
Companies and affiliations
Betancourt is co-founder, along with Pedro Trebbau López, of Derwick Associates Corp., a Venezuelan company dedicated to the energy sector. He has also co-founded eponymous companies in Panama, the United States, Spain, and Barbados.
Since it started operations in 2003, the company has obtained eleven contracts for the construction of power plants in Venezuela; five contracts awarded by Electricidad de Caracas (to join Corpoelec in December 2011), five Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA negotiated with Bariven, a PDVSA division), and one by Corporación Venezolana de Guayana (CVG).
In January 2014, the business section of the Spanish daily ABC published an interview in which Alejandro Betancourt explained his strategy of turning Derwick into a major technology provider for Latin America.
Pacific Exploration & Production
In May 2015, O'Hara Administration, an international investment group led by Alejandro Betancourt, became the largest shareholder of the petroleum company Pacific Exploration & Production Corporation by controlling 19.5 percent of its shares.
By the end of August 2015 Betancourt increased his control over the shares of Pacific to 19.95% and was appointed director and member of the board. Betancourt publicly shared plans to expand the operations of the company and enter new markets to grow.
BDK Financial Group
In June 2015 the BDK Financial Group, of which Alejandro Betancourt is a major shareholder, inaugurated the Banque de Dakar headquarters in Senegal. The objective of the financial group is to offer banking services in French-speaking Africa. In March 2016 the group appointed Alfredo Sáenz Abad as president of the bank.
Betancourt leads the O’Hara administration group of international investors. The other key executive of the group as portfolio manager and director is Orlando J. Alvarado.
The group currently holds 19.95% of Pacific Exploration & Production Corporation shares. In August 2016, O’Hara together with the Mexican investor Fernando Chico Pardo presented a restructuring bid for Pacific worth $575 million.
As of October 2016 O’Hara together with the founders of the Spanish social network Tuenti, Felix Ruiz and Hugo Arévalo led a financing round of 50 million euros for the Spanish sunglasses startup company Hawkers. In November 2016 Hawkers appointed Alejandro Betancourt as its new president.
Controversies and legal disputes
As co-founder of Derwick Associates, Betancourt has been linked to corruption scandals in Venezuela, including the sale of 12 electric plants to Venezuela for $1 billion. Univision reported that Derwick was "awarded projects for more than 2,100 million dollars despite not having any experience in the electricity sector", according to journalist César Batiz. The Wall Street Journal says that Derwick denies paying any bribes.
Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza, a human rights lawyer, alleged defamation and sued Derwick and Betancourt. Banco Banesco and Derwick Associates said that the accusations were false; the lawsuit was dismissed.