Effective on January 20, 2003, Ricardo B. Martinelli resigned as Chairman of the Panama Canal Authority Board of Directors and Minister for Canal Affairs.

Presenting his formal resignation to Panama’s President Mireya Moscoso, Mr. Martinelli said in his letter, “I am truly grateful for the historic opportunity granted to me as the first Chairman of the Panama Canal Authority Board of Directors. We, the Panamanian people, proved to the world that we can manage the Canal in an efficient, safe, and reliable manner”

Mr. Martinelli served as Chairman of the Board from September 1999 to January 2003. A presidential appointment to replace Mr. Martinelli is expected shortly.

Following Mr. Martinelli’s resignation, Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the Panama Canal Authority Administrator, said: “In the nearly four years Mr. Martinelli served as Chairman, the Canal has made some of its most significant and impressive changes. These changes, including the move to run the Canal as a market-oriented business, have made the Canal safer, faster and more efficient. I appreciate his dedication, I congratulate him for his admirable service and I thank him for his friendship. I wish him luck in his future endeavors.”

Ricardo Martinelli earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas in 1973. In 1977, he obtained a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Mr. Martinelli became the CEO of Importadora Ricamar, S.A., a successful supermarket chain; he is also chairman of the Super 99 franchise board of directors. Mr. Martinelli acted as undersecretary of the Panama Chamber of Commerce from 1985 to 1987 and as president of the Italian-Panamanian Chamber of Commerce from 1993 to 1995. He is president of ACOVIPA (the Panamanian Association of Food Merchants); and a member of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization), the APEDE (Panamanian Association of Business Executives) and the INCAE National Committee-Panama since 1992.

In 1994, Mr. Martinelli became the director of the Social Security Bureau. In September of 1999, he was appointed Minister for Canal Affairs and Chairman of the Panama Canal Authority Board of Directors.