The Panama Canal Authority’s Board of Directors appointed Jorge Luis Quijano, the engineer in charge of building the canal’s new set of locks, as the new Panama Canal Administrator.
Quijano succeeds Alberto Alemán Zubieta, who has been at the helm of the canal authority for the past 16 years under both U.S. and Panamanian jurisdiction and whose term will end on September 3.
Quijano, who is currently the canal authority’s executive vice president for engineering and project management, will now begin a transition period with the guidance of Alemán Zubieta to guarantee a smooth succession once he officially occupies the position beginning on September 4.
Quijano, who earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering at Lamar University in Texas and worked for Texaco in Panama before he joined the canal authority in 1975, presides over the $5.25 billion project from the construction headquarters next to the canal in Corozal, near Panama City
"The Board of Directors, as part of its legal duties and based on its autonomy, considers engineer Quijano to have the knowledge and experience needed to manage the waterway at this key moment in its history," said Romulo Roux, board chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs.
Quijano joined the Panama Canal Authority in 1975 and was appointed director of maritime operations in 1999, which, as the largest department within the authority, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment of the waterway.
Since September 2006, Quijano has been in charge of the Panama Canal expansion program. He heads a group of about 500 professionals which is specifically responsible for contracting and managing the locks design and construction contract, the dredging contracts for the Atlantic and Pacific entrance channels, the contracting of four dry excavation contracts to create a new 6.1 kilometer inland channel in the Pacific end of the Canal, the Lake level dredging to be performed by authority’s workforce and other smaller contracts.