Diana Villarnovo Lopez is General Counsel & Secretary for Gateway Program Development Corporation, a new entity formed to execute a multi-billion dollar program of strategic rail infrastructure projects between Newark, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station New York.
Prior to joining GPDC, Diana was Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and led critical aspects of the public private partnership for the LaGuardia Airport Central Terminal Building Redevelopment Program, the largest U.S. airport terminal privatization to date, estimated to cost $4.0 billion. Diana’s public service included being part of President Obama’s administration as a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy & Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Under the leadership of Secretary Hillary Clinton, Diana advocated for U.S. companies to expand business opportunities overseas and she promoted economic growth, development and financial stability in Central and South America.
Diana was Counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, for 17 years prior to her government service. At Skadden, Diana represented domestic and international clients in complex mergers, acquisitions, securities and other financing transactions and was instrumental in establishing the firm’s Latin America practice. Diana began her legal career as a Law Clerk to The Honorable John E. Sprizzo, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, then joined Debevoise & Plimpton as a corporate associate. Thereafter, Diana was Associate General Counsel and Vice President at Sotheby’s, Inc. where she was responsible for all the legal operations of Sotheby’s financial services subsidiary. Most notably, she advised Sotheby’s on financing the purchase of Vincent Van Gogh’s Les Irises, which sold for the highest price paid at that time for a work of art sold at public auction.
Diana, who is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in French, earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Tufts University, majoring in Political Science; a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University, where she was the Lead Articles Editor for The Tax Lawyer; and a Master of Science in Foreign Service, concentrating in International Economic Transactions, also from Georgetown University.
Diana is Vice President of the Executive Committee of the Tufts University Alumni Association, a founding member of the Tufts New York Women’s Networking Group, and active in the Tufts Lawyers Association.
Diana and her husband, Robert L. Begleiter, a lawyer in New York specializing in commercial litigation, have three daughters, Raquel, Andrea and Gabriella, and live in Brooklyn, New York.
Diana was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in 2014.