Mexico’s Finance Minister Resigns, Paving Way for Candidacy

Updated on
  • Meade widely speculated to be top PRI candidate for president
  • Pemex CEO Anaya will leave post and become finance minister

Jose Antonio Meade

Photographer: Yael Martinez/Bloomberg

Mexico Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade resigned on Monday, stoking speculation that he will become the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party’s candidate for president in 2018 elections.

Jose Antonio Meade

Photographer: Yael Martinez/Bloomberg

Meade’s resignation was announced during a speech by President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City. The president also said Pemex CEO, Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, will leave his post to become the country’s next finance minister.

Read more: Pemex’s revolving executive door

"I wish him the best of luck in the project he has decided to undertake," Pena Nieto said, without giving details on Meade’s next assignment.

Meade, a 48-year-old economist with a doctorate from Yale University, was in his second turn as finance minister. He served in four cabinet posts for presidents from rival parties, including a year as social development minister, where he was the public face of Pena Nieto’s efforts to combat poverty in the nation’s poorer south. Meade has not been tainted by corruption scandals that have plagued the upper echelons of Mexico’s government. That has led some to tout him as the scandal-plagued PRI’s best option for the 2018 presidential race.

Jose Antonio Anaya

Photographer: Mauricio Palos/Bloomberg

Some think Meade would make a better fit as central bank governor, taking over from Agustin Carstens, who leaves this week to lead the Bank for International Settlements. In a June interview, Meade said the central bank would be able to cut borrowing costs as early as the end of this year.

Meade emerged as an option for the presidential race after some of Pena Nieto’s closest allies, and potential successors, were hit by allegations of a conflict of interest, as is the case for Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, or faced criticism for surging violence, such as Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong. A 2015 probe by the country’s public comptroller cleared Videgaray of any wrongdoing in his purchase of a home from a government contractor.

Mexico City-based newspaper El Universal first reported on Meade’s departure late Sunday and said Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio won’t compete for the PRI candidacy.

Mexico’s peso was little changed, up 0.1 percent to trade at 18.53 per dollar in early afternoon trading in New York.

— With assistance by Nacha Cattan

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.