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Trump renames Skeel, González to fiscal board

By on January 7, 2021

Puerto Rico fiscal board member David Skeel (CB file)

Completes appointment process for 7-member fiscal panel 

SAN JUAN – The White House confirmed on Wednesday the intent to reappoint Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) Chairman David A. Skeel Jr. and former board member Arthur J. González, completing the appointment process for all seven members of the fiscal panel for a three-year term. 

Skeel and González are bankruptcy experts who have served on the oversight board since its establishment in 2016 under the federal Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa). The fiscal panel was created to pull the commonwealth out from the bankruptcy hole, the biggest of any U.S. jurisdiction, and get it back into the cash-rich capital markets 

Skeel had been appointed by President Barack Obama and was reappointed by President Donald J. Trump from a list submitted by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He has been the chairman of the oversight board since October, after former Chairman José Carrión III exited the board after four years at the helm of the fiscal panel. 

The FOMB chairman is the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a position he has held since 2004. Skeel is the author of several books, including Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America. 

González had been appointed to the oversight board by President Obama and served until his tenure ended with President Trump’s appointment of Justin M. Peterson in October. President Trump subsequently reappointed Andrew G. Biggs, and, in addition to Peterson, appointed John E. Nixon, Antonio L. Medina Comas, and Betty A. Rosa. 

Judge González, a senior fellow at New York University School of Law, served on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York from 1995 to 2012, retiring as chief judge. During his tenure, he presided over several large complex corporate reorganizations, including the Enron, WorldCom and Chrysler cases. 

The oversight board issued a statement late Wednesday in which it welcomed the reappointment of Skeel and González. 

“I am grateful for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his trust in my service on the oversight board and for including me on his list of candidates submitted to President Trump, and I would like to thank the President for his reappointment,” Skeel said in the release. “I am looking forward to continue serving on the Oversight Board to help Puerto Rico recover and prosper.”  

Skeel welcomed the fact that FOMB “is complete again as we negotiate sustainable debt restructuring agreements for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and for PREPA [Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority] and continue our work to create a foundation for sustainable economic growth in Puerto Rico even in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” 

He said that while the oversight board has put Puerto Rico “on a path to fiscal responsibility” and reached significant debt restructuring agreements, it still has “important work to be done.” 

“This new Oversight Board has incredible strength, with the stability of continuing members and new members who bring important perspectives,” Skeel said. “Together, the members bring significant expertise in the areas that matter most to Puerto Rico’s recovery, ranging from education to pensions, from bankruptcy to fiscal sustainability and business development.” 

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