ICA, Mexico’s Defaulted Builder, Says CEO Died Unexpectedly

  • Zarate had replaced chairman’s son amid restructuring effort
  • Company says board to meet soon to determine replacement

Empresas ICA SAB said its chief executive officer died unexpectedly, leaving the Mexican builder without a key leader as it develops a restructuring plan following a $1.35 billion default.

The board will meet shortly “to make the necessary decisions’’ to replace Luis Zarate, a longtime company executive, ICA said in a statement Wednesday. Zarate was named to the post in February, after the company failed to pay bondholders in Mexico’s biggest bond default since Moody’s Investors Service started tracking the information in 1995.

ICA ceased payments on its bonds late last year as the government cut back infrastructure projects and a plunge in the Mexican peso worsened the burden from the company’s dollar-denominated debt. Zarate replaced Alonso Quintana, who had run Mexico City-based ICA since 2012. Quintana’s father, Bernardo, was a longtime company CEO and remains chairman.

“I have lost a friend and Mexico has lost a great engineer,’’ Bernardo Quintana said in the statement.

Zarate died of cancer at the age of 72, according to Notimex, a Mexican news agency. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto extended his condolences on Twitter late Wednesday, calling him a “great engineer and teacher.”

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