By DÁNICA COTO, Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Natalie Jaresko announced Thursday that she is stepping down after five years as executive director of a federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances amid a historic debt restructuring.
The announcement comes just weeks after a federal judge signed a plan overseen and approved by the board to help the U.S. territory exit from bankruptcy, marking the largest municipal debt restructuring in U.S. history.
“After reducing most of Puerto Rico’s debt … to affordable levels, fulfilling our obligation to stabilize Puerto Rico’s finances and creating a road map to prosperity … Puerto Rico has reached an important turning point,” Jaresko said in a statement.
She is scheduled to step down on April 1. The board said it is seeking a new executive director, having previously noted that it will remain in place until Puerto Rico approves four consecutive balanced budgets.
The U.S. territory declared in 2015 that it was unable to pay its more than $70 billion public debt load that it had accumulated through decades of mismanagement, corruption and excessive borrowing. A year later, the U.S. Congress created the board, and in 2017, Puerto Rico’s government filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.