The PFM community is mourning the sudden passing of Mario Pessoa at the early age of 53, following a courageous struggle with a short illness. Mario was a highly-respected professional who graduated with a master’s degree in economics and social science from the University of Wales, United Kingdom. He had worked since 2006 in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, most recently as the Deputy Division Chief of the Public Financial Management Division II. Previously, Mario was a senior official in Brazil’s National Treasury Secretariat of the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Internal Control Secretariat.
Mario will be well known to many readers of the blog as well as to colleagues at the Fund, country officials, and anyone with an interest in PFM. He was the author of many papers and articles on topics such as cash management, expenditure arrears, and building fiscal capacity in fragile states. He co-edited the book, Public Financial Management in Latin America: The Key to Efficiency and Transparency, published in 2015. Mario helped to establish the Latin American Treasurers (FOTEGAL) and the General Accountants (FOCAL) fora. He was a leading light in these groups as a speaker and an organizer of seminars and conferences, working closely with colleagues at the IADB and the World Bank. His most recent article in the PFM Blog, published only two months ago, reported on a FOTEGAL meeting in Costa Rica.
Colleagues at the Fund have come forward with many tributes to Mario’s warmth and generosity of spirit, to his brilliance, availability, reliability, and friendliness, to his politeness and gentleness, to his devotion to work and excellence as a team player, and to his unfailingly helpful and courteous mentoring of less-experienced staff and experts. He was a fire-fighter who could always be relied upon to resolve issues in a sensitive and diplomatic way. Mario led many technical assistance missions to countries all over Latin America, but also in Africa and Asia, including most recently in Indonesia and India. He was a realist about what could be achieved, and unstinting in his desire to ensure that all possible avenues were explored in the dialog with counterparts, and that the fullest possible understanding was reached on complex and sometimes politically-sensitive issues.
Mario was a wonderful colleague and a unique person. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his family. We shall miss him dearly.
If readers have a tribute or story and pictures about Mario they would like to share, please send it to email@example.com. All contributions will be recorded in a Commemorative Book that is being prepared and will be presented to Mario’s family.
Richard Allen, Teresa Curristine, Manal Fouad, and Michel Lazare