Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the nomination of Kenneth Adams as President and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). Governor Cuomo said the appointment is part of his plan to change the leadership structure of ESDC, separating the CEO and Chairperson functions.
"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."
Kenneth Adams has been President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, the state's leading business association, 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.
Prior to leading the Business Council, Mr. Adams was President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District in Downtown Brooklyn. Kenneth was also the founding Executive Director of New York Cares, New York City's leading volunteer organization, from 1988 to 1994.
Mr. Adams serves on the Empire State Stem Cell Board, the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York. He is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy. He also serves on the City University of New York Business Leadership Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100 and the Council of State Chambers.
Mr. Adams will also serve as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. A Chairperson for ESDC will also be chosen who will bring a specific understanding of the issues facing economic development in Upstate New York.
In his new role, Mr. Adams will work closely with Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy to implement Regional Economic Development Councils across the state. Mr. Adams was also recently named to Governor Cuomo's Task Force on Mandate Relief, tasked with finding ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated, and determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses.
Kevin Burke, President and CEO of Con Edison said, "Ken knows doing business in New York can be like swimming upstream, but now he is in a position to change the tide. Business leaders know and trust him, and for good reason. His knowledge and dedication will help New York reclaim its place as a national pro-business leader and center for job creation. We commend Governor Cuomo for his wise choice and we look forward to working closely with our partners in government so we can once again declare New York 'Open for Business.'"
Kirk P. Gregg, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Corning, Inc. said, "New York is poised for great things with the addition of Ken Adams to state government. He is a true professional who will work diligently to achieve real results for struggling communities across New York. We applaud Governor Cuomo's emphasis on job-creation and transforming New York into a business-friendly destination for everything from entrepreneurs to major global corporations."
Denis Hughes, President of the AFL-CIO, said, "Ken is a good friend and someone who can do a great job at ESDC. He has a full understanding of New York's economy and businesses, and he is someone that the Labor Movement can work with for the betterment of our state. I'm very happy for Ken and I applaud his appointment."
Linda Sanford, Senior Vice President for Enterprise Transformation at IBM Corporation, said, "Kenneth and I worked in close partnership on the Business Council of New York for many years. He is a proven leader, and that's exactly what New York needs at this critical time. Governor Cuomo has outlined a vision of making New York State business-friendly, and I can think of no one better to make that vision a reality than Kenneth. I commend the Governor on his selection and look forward to working with Kenneth as he embarks on this new endeavor."
Rob Simpson, President of CenterState CEO, said, "Governor Cuomo understands that for New York state to thrive once again, we need a strong private sector to lead the way. His choice of Ken Adams to head ESDC shows that he is serious about transforming New York. Ken will do wonders for New York's economic development and I applaud the governor on his choice."