New York State Gov. Mario M. Cuomo yesterday announced that Eugene J. Keilin will replace Felix G. Rohatyn as chairman of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York.

Keilin has been a member of MAC's board of directors since 1979. He also served as executive director when the corporation was helping to steer New York City through the fiscal crisis of the late 1970s.

He is also a senior partner with the investment banking firm of Keilin and Bloom.

Keilin's appointment follows the September resignation of Rohatyn, the Wall Street financier who served as MAC's chairman for 18 years. Rohatyn, a partner at the investment banking firm Lazard Freres & Co., has at times been an ardent critic of city budget and labor practices. In recent years, he has become more outspoken about the city's fiscal policies.

"Eugene Keilin has served the city and the state of New York ably both as MAC's executive director and as a member of the board of directors," Cuomo said yesterday in a press release. "He will provide a seamless transition from the superb leadership of Felix Rohatyn."

In recent months, the board has undergone several other changes. George M. Brooker, a board member since 1977, died, and Robert C. Weaver, who was appointed to the board in 1975, resigned.

The state Legislature established MAC in the late 1970s to help sell debt for the city. The city was largely barred from the financial markets during the late 1970s and early 1980s because of its failing credit and fiscal woes.

The governor appoints all nine members of the corporation's board of directors, but needs approval of the state Senate. The chairman is also designated by the governor.

MAC now focuses primarily on managing its portfolio, bond refundings, and reviewing and commenting on the city's fiscal policies and budget.

The board recently concluded that the city's financial plan for fiscal year 1994, which ends June 30, is "balanced and can remain in balance," according to the corporation's recently released annual report. But the board also wamed that the budget is balanced on "several assumptions which may tum out to be too optimistic with respect to both revenues and expenditures."

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