LIMA (Reuters) - Peru’s President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski confirmed on Sunday that Fernando Zavala, the outgoing chief executive of the country’s biggest beer company, will be his prime minister after he takes office July 28.
In an interview with local broadcaster RPP, Kuczynski praised Zavala, 45, as well-qualified for the job after holding positions in the finance ministry, the antitrust regulator and the private sector.
“He has broad knowledge of what’s going on in Peru and knows how public administration works,” Kuczynski said. “He’s regarded as objective and I think his presence is going to be very positive.”
Zavala said on Twitter that he was honored by the appointment and would strive to make Peru better.
Reuters reported on Friday that Kuczynski was planning to name Zavala as prime minister.
Zavala is leaving SABMiller’s Peruvian subsidiary Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus Y Johnston as it undergoes an acquisition by Anheuser-Busch Inbev.
One of Zavala’s first challenges will be pushing Kuczynski’s reforms through a Congress that will be dominated by opposition lawmakers, most belonging to the right-wing populist party of Kuczynski’s defeated run-off rival Keiko Fujimori.
Kuczynski has said that he has tried unsuccessfully to reach Fujimori by phone but told RPP that he expects to speak to her in the coming days. “There are signs of that,” he said.
Fujimori has said little in public since ceding defeat to Kuczynski last month after a divisive presidential race that many viewed as a referendum on the legacy of Fujimori’s father, former authoritarian president Alberto Fujimori.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former investment banker and prime minister, won by only tens of thousands of votes.
The only other cabinet member that Kuczynski has announced is Alfredo Thorne, appointing the former JPMorgan Chase director as his finance minister.
(Story refiles to add “elect” to headline as Kuczynski not yet president.)
Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by David Goodman