President Donald Trump said Monday he planned to appoint Antonio Medina Comas to the Puerto Rico Oversight Board.
Medina Comas served as Executive Director to the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company from 2012 to 2016. He spent 20 years at pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme, starting as an industrial engineer and advancing to be chief financial officer of the firm’s Brazilian operations.
“This is a great choice,” said Advantage Business Consulting President Vicente Feliciano. “Mr. Medina is knowledgeable about economic development and the government of Puerto Rico. Recently, he has been involved with hotel development. He brings to the table understanding as to what can be executed by both the government and the private sector.”
Advantage Business Consulting is a Puerto Rico-based business and economic consulting firm.
“Moreover, having somebody that resides in Puerto Rico affords the Oversight Board someone that connects to the grapevine and accesses alternative channels of information,” Feliciano said.
“I met Mr. Antonio Medina while he worked at the Puerto Rico Department of Commerce and later as head of PRIDCO,” said Heidi Calero, president of H. Calero Consulting Group. “In my opinion, he is a competent professional; always hard at work; self-reliant and always striving to do professional work.
“He will be facing a balancing act with enormous challenges as member of the Financial Oversight Board and what is best for economic growth in the Island,” Calero said. “Great hopes on what I consider a good choice for the board.”
On Monday the Oversight Board released a statement welcoming the appointment of Medina Comas.
Puerto Rico commentator Cate Long said, “Puerto Rico is highly reliant on U.S. pharmaceutical and medtech firms and [the] Over Board projects that half of them [will] leave the island in the next five years.
“As former head of PRIDCO, Medina dealt with all these companies and can attest if they actually plan to leave,” Long said. “It’s more likely that more pharma will locate to Puerto Rico, given the federal tax code, not less. Medina can help make that happen.”
The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act requires at least one member of the board reside or have a place of work in Puerto Rico. Medina Comas fulfills that requirement.
According to the El Nuevo Día news web site, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi nominated Medina Comas to the board.
With his appointment, the board now has five members appointed to three year terms and one more continuing to serve until he is either replaced or reappointed.
The latter is David Skeel, currently the board chairman. While The Bond Buyer has learned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., nominated him, Trump has yet to appoint him to a new term.
Since Trump has appointed another of McConnell’s suggested appointees who has been on the board since the beginning, Andrew Biggs, Trump’s failure to act on Skeel raises questions as to Trump’s intention to reappoint Skeel.
In addition to choosing from among McConnnell’s three suggestions to replace Skeel (including Skeel himself), Trump may still appoint another from among Pelosi’s three options. If Trump doesn’t act on these appointments, President-elect Joe Biden will chose after he assumes power.
Medina Comas earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also gained a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.