Thursday, December 14, 2017

Puerto Rico Communications Icon, Casiano, Passes Away at 86

By on May 19, 2017

SAN JUAN – Manuel A. Casiano, who founded Caribbean Business in 1973 and went on to create Casiano Communications, one of the largest Hispanic-owned publishing companies in the United States, died Friday, May 19, at the age of 86. Casiano began his career as a photographer in the U.S. Marine Corps. That experience served as a stepping stone to his founding a Coastal Films, a post-production and special effects company he later took public.

Casiano joined the administration of Gov. Luis A Ferré in 1969 as the head of the Puerto Rico Migration Division, with five U.S. mainland offices overseeing 40,000 Puerto Ricans working on stateside farms. Six months later, he went on to become the island’s Economic Development administrator.

Puerto Rico registered an average growth of 6.1 percent GDP during the four years Casiano was at the helm of the agency known as Fomento. Upon leaving government, Casiano founded Caribbean Business in 1973. He turned what started as a modest newsletter into highly respected business journal that is now read in the White House, the U.S. Congress, Wall Street boardrooms, and by captains of industry in Puerto Rico and abroad.

In 1986, the CEO of Casiano Communications and editor in chief of Caribbean Business expanded his newspaper operation with the creation of fashion magazine Imagen. It was the first in a roster of publications that included the health magazine Buenavida and a whole host of specialty publications such as Agenda de Mamá, Agenda de Decoración and ¡Qué Pasa!, a tourism guide.

Casiano branched off into the telemarketing industry in 1990 when founding Direct ResponSource Inc. That firm, known as DRSI today, is a full-service contact center serving multinational corporations.

“Casiano was a man ahead of his time. That was true with his founding of Caribbean Business in 1973, and his founding of Puerto Rico Wow, an internet news service,” Caribbean Business Executive Editor Philipe Schoene Roura said. “He held Puerto Rico’s economic development as a guiding principle in everything he did.”

“I am deeply sorry at the passing of Manuel Casiano. He loved Puerto Rico and gave us the best of his talent as Fomento administrator and publisher of Caribbean Business. A man of vision, in both endeavors he excelled, accomplishing outstanding achievements. Caribbean Business ranked over and above any other business publication. We lose Manny at a time when men of his stature are most needed,” former Puerto Rico Gov. Rafael Hernández Colón said in a statement sent to CB.
“Kate and I are deeply saddened by the news of Manny’s passing. Manny was a collaborator in my years as governor, an unconditional ally and a real friend,” former Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló said in a written statement. “He was a pioneer in the magazine industry in Puerto Rico establishing several publications that impacted various areas of our economy. Caribbean Business not only kept local business people informed on what was happening in Puerto Rico, but also became the federal government’s most dependable source of business information in Puerto Rico, both in Congress and in the executive branch.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Nora and the rest of the family. We will surely miss his presence,” Romero Barceló added.

 A funeral service will be held at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón on Wednesday, May 24, at 10 a.m., followed by a mass at around 11:30 a.m. The funeral procession will then leave for the Caparra Cemetery.

Casiano is survived by his wife, Nora, his daughter, Kim, son, Manny, and four grandchildren.

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  • rtryon

    I visited his company many times since 1984 until his staff and business watched the slow downward spiral of the PR economy and its political system of ‘musical-chairs’ in which each party failed until the other one did too. Not a bit co-ooperative, PR showed the mainland Americans how to self-destruct!

    Now it can show them how to lose population and rebuild? Manny Casiano did his best all of his life for PR. Now it is hard for anyone to see a way to stop the spiral until it is meaningless. But, this man should not be forgotten.

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