REPORT FOR THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service Act, Section 304(a)(4)
POST: Republic of Panama
CANDIDATE: Erik P. Bethel
Erik P. Bethel represented the United States on the Board of Directors of the World Bank, the largest developing finance institution in the world, from 2018 to 2020. The World Bank’s goal is to reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries through grants, loans, insurance, and equity investments. In his current position, Mr. Bethel has promoted a number of initiatives including spearheading the use of new technologies and streamlining World Bank operations. A financial professional with more than 25 years of private equity and investment banking experience in Latin America and Asia, Mr. Bethel has worked in Emerging Markets since 1994. He began his career in New York covering Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Subsequently he moved to Mexico City as an investment banker and later to Shanghai, China as a private equity professional. Mr. Bethel’s quarter century of experience in international finance, his exemplary work on the Board of the World Bank, and his demonstrated leadership abilities make him well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Panama.
As a financial professional, Mr. Bethel developed particular expertise in Latin America, and on Chinese investments and financial activities in the Latin American region. His civic contributions include service on the Board of Governors of Opportunity International, a non-profit organization that provides financial services to people living in poverty in developing countries. Earlier in his career Mr. Bethel served as a U.S. Naval Officer.
Mr. Bethel is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he was an Olmsted Scholar, a Cox Fund Scholar and a Battalion Commander. He earned an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Milken Scholar. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.