Lula’s new adviser acted in the privatization of Cesp and Cedae

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What do the privatizations of Cesp (Companhia Energética do Estado de São Paulo) and Cedae (Companhia de Águas e Esgotos do Rio) have in common? The fingerprints of former banker Gabriel Galípolo, 39, now one of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s advisers on the financial market.

President of Banco Fator from 2017 to 2021, Galípolo has already been on the opposite side of PT. Whether in the presidency or in the new business board of the bank, a chair he held from 2016 to 2017, the economist worked on modeling the sales of the two state-owned companies, which took place under the protest of PT members.

In December 2016, the Government of São Paulo hired the consultancy Fator for the privatization of Cesp. The following year, the bank won the BNDES bid to design the sale of Cedae.

Under the command of Galípolo, Fator also attracted foreign capital to take over the construction and operation of line 6 of the São Paulo subway.

Lula is not unaware of the trajectory of his new adviser. Not her opinions. Sympathetic to the social democracy installed in 20th century Europe, Galípolo refutes, for example, the idea of ​​conflict between market and state.

On Monday night (4), during a dinner held by PT president, Gleisi Hoffmann (PR), with economists, he expressed his point of view, regretting that we are stuck in this dichotomy. Gallipolo also repeated that “privatization cannot have an end in itself”, but be aligned with a purpose.

This concept was put into practice in the privatization of Cedae. The government of Rio demanded that the funds be used to pay debts. But, according to the model conceived, the money should be invested in a sanitation program.

Chief economist at Banco Fator, José Francisco de Lima Gonçalves praises what he calls the “intellectual honesty” of Galípolo, with whom he worked. According to José Francisco, Galípolo does not tear up his diploma according to his convenience. “He is not angry with the market and the state. Because he is more intellectually sophisticated, he is richer in debate.”

Galípolo has expressed his opinion in conversations with Lula, held since last year. At the suggestion of a mutual friend, Lula invited Galípolo to a virtual meeting. According to PT members, the former president liked what he heard, expanding dialogue.

Master in economics from PUC in São Paulo, the former banker has as one of his mentors the economist Luiz Gonzaga Belluzzo, with whom he wrote three books. Its titles: “Send who can, obey who has losses”, “Scarcity in capitalist abundance” and “Money: the power of real abstraction”.

With Beluzzo, he shared a partnership for a year, as well as sharing his passion for Palmeiras and his curiosity for quantum physics. The son of a Uruguayan, Galípolo likes classic rock, having traveled to Ireland to attend a U2 concert.

Graduated in 2004, he was invited two years later to work in the José Serra government. As head of economic advisory for the Secretariat of Metropolitan Transport, he worked in the implementation of the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) for the construction of subway line 4, later occupying the structure and projects directorate of the Secretariat of Planning, commanded at the time by Francisco Vidal Luna. .

In 2008, Belluzzo was approached to take over the Central Bank, replacing Henrique Meirelles, and invited Galípolo to advise him at the institution. Encouraged by Luna, Gallipolo left the government of São Paulo, but Belluzzo’s appointment did not prosper.

In 2009, after a brief partnership with Belluzzo, Galípolo founded his own consultancy focused on investment projects, especially in the area of ​​infrastructure.

Three years earlier, an experience in the transition from the Cláudio Lembo government to that of Serra ended up propitiating a rapprochement with PT Aloizio Mercadante. During the process, Galípolo sought the financial viability of two projects: a subway line in an upscale area of ​​São Paulo and a train station in the periphery.

The subway project was approved. The one on the train line, no. Encouraged by a colleague, Galípolo reported his frustration to Governor Cláudio Lembo in the corridor of Palácio dos Bandeirantes. Sensitized, Lembo determined the approval of funds also for the periphery.

The following year, already at the inauguration of the train line, the then governor, José Serra, was approached by a resident who was celebrating the fact that she had sold her house at a high price thanks to the work. From there, it would move to an even more peripheral region.

Disappointed by the realization that the work had pushed the resident away from the center, Galípolo dedicated himself to the elaboration of a project aimed at offering housing for the low-income population in regions with underused sanitation, education and transport infrastructure.

In 2010, the project —detailed in 150 slides— reached Mercadante. Then a candidate for the government of São Paulo, Mercadante incorporated the proposal into his program.

Currently in the presidency of the Perseu Abramo Foundation, Mercadante is quoted to coordinate Lula’s government plan. The expectation is that Galípolo will collaborate in its elaboration.

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