DEED Commissioner Resigns; Trade Office Director Succeeds Him
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Mark Phillips is resigning his post, effective Friday, “to pursue opportunities in the private sector,” Governor Mark Dayton’s office announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, Dayton appointed Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) Executive Director Katie Clark to succeed Phillips as DEED’s commissioner.
Phillips, who took the helm in January 2011, couldn’t be reached for comment mid-day Thursday, and spokespeople with DEED and Dayton’s office said they do not know what his specific plans are. DEED spokesman Blake Chaffee told Twin Cities Business that Phillips wants to create a “quiet transition.” However, he has a specific opportunity in the private sector and people will become aware of it when he assumes his new role, Chaffee said.
“I thank Mark Phillips for his dedicated service to DEED and the people of Minnesota,” Dayton said in a prepared statement. “I know that he will continue to be successful in his future endeavors.”
Clark, who became the MTO’s executive director in January 2011, has led efforts to increase foreign direct investment in Minnesota and developed a coaching program that aims to help small and mid-sized companies develop export plans. Clark also helped launch the Minneapolis-St. Paul Export Initiative, a partnership between the MTO, the City of Minneapolis, and the Brookings Institution that aims to double the region’s exports between 2012 and 2017.
“Minnesota’s economy is diverse, our work force is strong, and public and private entities are effectively collaborating to spur economic growth throughout the state,” Clark said in a statement. “Governor Dayton agrees that the time is right to make economic development our top priority, and we look forward to working with multiple partners to increase Minnesota’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.”
Clark’s past roles include stints with Target Corporation and start-up wind energy developer National Wind—and she served as finance director for Dayton’s 2010 gubernatorial election campaign.
Dayton said he has the “utmost confidence” in Clark, whose “leadership skills were well-developed by her work at Target Corporation and National Wind.”
“As director of Minnesota’s International Trade Office, she has proven that she knows how to turn her ideas into action,” he added.
Chaffee said that Ed Dieter, deputy director of the Minnesota Trade Office, will become interim executive director when Clark transitions to her new role. Details related to finding a permanent replacement weren't immediately available.
Immediately prior to joining DEED, Phillips served as director of business development for Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction. Other previous positions include director of community and economic development at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board and director of development for Minnesota Power.