Vinci bets on Americas with new hire

Luis Palazzi, an Abertis veteran, will now head a Stateside effort for Vinci.

A toll road executive who piloted a historic public-private partnership (PPP; P3) involving Puerto Rico Highway 22 (PR-22) has taken a post with Vinci Concessions, according to a press release.

Luis Palazzi signed on with Vinci as director of North and South America. He will be based in New York. Palazzi is the erstwhile chief operating officer (COO) of Metropistas, the private consortium behind PR-22.

Vinci executive vice president Fadi Selwan in a statement said Palazzi would be “in charge of business development” for the US and Latin America. Vinci spokesman Sidney Florey could not state if Palazzi was appointed to a newly created position within the company or name his direct report.

In addition to being COO, Palazzi from 2010 to 2012 had also served as president of Metropistas. He was also vice president of Metropistas co-owner Abertis USA from 2006 to 2011. He broke into infrastructure in 2000 with Spain's ACS Group.

Metropistas spokeswoman Muriel Lazro said operations director Xavier Serra took over as COO after Palazzi joined Vinci.

Metropistas, teaming Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners II (GSIP II) and Abertis, signed a 40-year lease for PR-22, as well as Puerto Rico Highway 5 (PR-5), in June 2011.

The $1.4 billion ‘brownfield’ deal put Puerto Rico, a US territory which leased its Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (LMM) the following year, atop the burgeoning P3 market in America.

In America, Vinci, along with Bilfinger Project Investments and Walsh Construction, is the concessionaire for the ‘East End Crossing’ P3 involving the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project.