Capitol of Puerto Rico, in San Juan
Capitol of Puerto Rico, in San Juan ()

Former Southern District Bankruptcy Chief Judge Arthur Gonzalez will join a seven-person bipartisan team of legal and finance experts charged with helping Puerto Rico restructure its $72 billion in debt.

The Aug. 31 announcement from President Barack Obama naming Gonzalez, a Democrat, to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico will give the bankruptcy law veteran a major role in working with the Puerto Rican government and its creditors to help get the country on the path to economic recovery.

The creation of the board is mandated by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, which the president signed on June 30.

“I’m very honored to have been selected to be a member of the oversight board, I look forward to working with the other members of this board in this important and complex undertaking,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

Gonzalez, who is currently a senior fellow at New York University Law School, served on the Southern District bankruptcy court from 1995 to 2012 and was appointed chief judge in 2010, retiring from that position. On the bench, he oversaw massive bankruptcies by corporations from Enron to WorldCom to Chrysler.

Before joining that court, Gonzalez worked on bankruptcy cases for the U.S. Department of Justice as trustee for New York, Connecticut and Vermont from 1993 to 1995, and as assistant U.S. trustee for the Southern District from 1991 to 1993.