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In 2015, Felipe Bayón was on a short list of candidates for the top job at Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil and gas company, which was losing money after a collapse in oil prices. But the board named as CEO Juan Carlos Echeverry, a former finance minister, and tasked him with returning Colombia’s biggest company to profitability. One of his first moves was to hire Bayón, a veteran of BP who had recently led that company’s International Deepwater Response.
While Echeverry slashed spending and restructured the balance sheet, Bayón professionalized the company’s workforce. Under their watch, Ecopetrol lowered its costs of production by more than 30 percent, introduced new technology, and by 2017 was once again profitable. Echeverry stepped down,