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UPDATED: Adams will be Empire State Development CEO

Ken Adams (right), is the current head of the Business Council of New York State. He's pictured here with former CEO Dan Walsh.
Courtesy photo
Business Council of New York State
Ken Adams (right), is the current head of the Business Council of New York State. He's pictured here with former CEO Dan Walsh.

Ken Adams will be the new head of New York's economic development arm.

That's according to a release from the governor's office today:

"With Ken Adams as President and CEO, the Empire State Development Corporation will fuel New York-based innovation and create jobs at home while helping to transform the state into a world-class center for business and new ideas," Governor Cuomo said. "As I said in my State of the State address, we need a strong voice to help say that New York is 'open for business.' A fast growing and forward-thinking economy begins with changing the state's business climate to attract and maintain cutting-edge companies. Ken is clearly the right person at the right time for New York and I thank him for agreeing to serve the people of the state. He succeeds Dennis Mullen, who has been a tireless advocate for business, marketing and growth for our state and I thank him for his dedication to New York."

Adams has served as CEO for the Business Council of New York State since 2006:

Mr. Adams has led the organization in its mission of creating "economic growth, good jobs and strong communities across New York State." The Business Council represents nearly 2,500 member businesses, chambers of commerce and professional and trade associations, employing a total of more than 1 million New Yorkers.

The question of who would replace outgoing ESD CEO Dennis Mullen, has been closely watched, since it could signal how Governor Cuomo intends to shake up the state's economic development priorities. 

Adams' nomination also includes the severing of the chairman and CEO role for ESD, which was joined under former Governor David Paterson. Cuomo's release says the yet-to-be-appointed chairperson of ESD will deal more closely with upstate economic development issues.


UPDATE: Center for Economic Development CEO Michael Tucker says the move is good news for New York State - specifically upstate New York. Cuomo’s economic development agenda calls for the creation of 10 regional economic councils, to be overseen by Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy.

Tucker says the regional council approach is one that Adams will work to move forward.

“Ken Adams’ experience at the Business Council,” says Tucker, “gives him the understanding of creating the regional councils that the governor has called for.”

Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) is also pleased with the appointment.

“I think Governor Cuomo made the best possible choice he could have,” says McMahon. “I think Ken Adams is a real leader in economic development. He understands economic development from a statewide policy perspective.”

McMahon says Adams also understands economic development from practical level, pointing to Adams’ time as president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.


UPDATE: It may come as no surprise, but Ken Adams is also a member of the pro-Cuomo business lobby known as the Committee to Save New York.

Some are already calling on the Governor to address what may be an apparent conflict of interest.

Innovation Trail alumnus Dan Bazile is former reporter for WMHT in Albany. He has covered a wide range of topics, from town board meetings, to the September 11th terrorist attacks.
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