Mexico's president-elect picks close ally for energy minister

By Diego Oré

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum named close ally and former Mexico City finance chief Luz Elena Gonzalez as incoming energy minister, tasking her with revitalizing a struggling state oil company and increasing the use of renewables.

Sheinbaum, a former mayor of the Mexican capital, won a landslide election this month, giving the leftist Morena party its second straight presidential triumph.

Analysts were broadly positive about the pick though some did express concerns about her lack of energy experience.

Gonzalez, who was in charge of finance and administration for the capital during Sheinbaum's tenure as mayor, will also serve as chair of the board of directors for state-owned Pemex as well as part of the board of national electricity utility CFE.

"I reiterate my promise to serve the Mexican people through an energy policy that guarantees national sovereignty and at the same time advances the energy transition," Gonzalez said on social media platform X after the announcement.

Her nomination comes as Pemex is crippled by huge debt, the world's highest for an oil company, and stagnating production. On the power front, Mexico's capacity is struggling to keep up with demand and the country was recently plagued by occasional blackouts amid record high temperatures and drought.

"It's very important that someone with so much financial experience was appointed given the debt problems of the state energy companies," said Julia Gonzalez, an energy lawyer.

Elena Gonzalez, an economist, is also regarded as close to Sheinbaum, and less of an ally of outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, suggesting some elements of energy policy may differ under the new government.

"The appointment of Luz Elena Gonzalez as Energy Minister highlights the importance that Sheinbaum will give to that portfolio with a focus on sustainability and finances," said political analyst Antonio Ocaranza.

For Miriam Grunstein, an energy analyst, Gonzalez will bring fresh eyes to the role but her lack of experience could be an issue.

"The risk with someone who hasn't had visibility in the sector is that they might not... have the required experience to head up an institution as important as the Energy Ministry," she said.

Sheinbaum also named other members of her future cabinet ahead of taking office in October, including Jesus Esteva to be her transportation minister. He previously headed Mexico City's public works department.

Other cabinet ministers announced included Raquel Buenrostro to serve as the head of the federal comptroller's office, physician David Kershenobich as health minister, and Edna Vega Rangel as agrarian development minister.

Buenrostro currently serves as economy minister in the cabinet of outgoing president Lopez Obrador.

Mexico's peso dipped 0.54% and the country's main stock exchange was down 0.5% immediately after the announcements.

Last week, Sheinbaum named the first six picks for her cabinet, including former Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard as economy minister and diplomat Juan Ramon de la Fuente as foreign minister.

(Reporting by Diego Ore, Stefanie Eschenbacher, and Adriana Barrera; Writing by Kylie Madry and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Josie Kao)