Panama Canal gets its first female deputy administrator

Ilya Espino de Marotta
Ilya Espino de Marotta


Ilya Espino de Marotta has resumed office as Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal, becoming the first woman to ever hold this position.

Espino de Marotta, who resumed in the position on January 1, began her career at the Panama Canal in 1985 as the sole female engineer at the shipyard.

She now works alongside more than 1,000 women and recently served as the Vice President of Transit Business and the Executive Vice President for Engineering during the Panama Canal Expansion Program.

“Ilya skillfully oversaw the construction of the Expanded Canal, leading the waterway into a new era for global shipping,” Aristides Royo, Panama Canal Board of Directors Chairman, said.

“It is a great honor to work alongside a visionary such as Ilya, and I am certain that she will continue leading the Canal into a new decade of inspired innovation,” Panama Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, said. 

The Panama Canal Board of Directors appointed Espino de Marotta as Deputy Administrator in February 2019. She succeeds Manuel Benitez as he retires after more than 40 years with the Canal.

The announcement comes as the Panama Canal is celebrating two decades under the Panamanian administration after it was transferred to the Panamanian people on December 31, 1999.