By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes announced Thursday he will retire from the position later this year after seven years in the job.
Gov. Steve Beshear, as chair of the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board, said the board will conduct a national search to replace Hayes.
No firm departure date has been set for Hayes, of Louisville, to step down.
Timing will be based upon completion of a successful transition period so not to disrupt ongoing project activities and discussions, said a release from the Economic Development Cabinet. The job pays $250,000 a year.
“Larry Hayes has been an invaluable member of my executive cabinet, leading the state’s economic development efforts out of the depths of a severe recession to record high investment, exports and activity,” Beshear, whose term as governor ends in December, said in a statement.
“It is important that the state not lose any momentum. I have asked the Partnership Board to begin the search process immediately so that we can ensure a seamless transition.”
Hayes said the opportunity to lead the Economic Development Cabinet under Beshear and the board’s direction “has been the highlight of my career in both business and government.
“I have been privileged to work with an outstanding staff, and I intend to work diligently to carry out the mission of this cabinet until a successor is in place.”
Hayes formerly worked in the Louisville mayoral administration of Jerry Abramson and was secretary of the cabinet during Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ administration.
Under Hayes’ administration, Kentucky won the Governor’s Cup award from Site Selection magazine for the most per-capita economic development in the country in 2014.
An overhaul of the state’s economic development incentives in 2009 led to more than 700 active projects and a potential 58,000 new and retained jobs and more than $9 billion in investment.
The Executive Committee of the Partnership Board will appoint a search committee to prepare a formal request for proposals, enabling the board to contract with a national search firm.
The successful firm will be responsible for conducting an extensive search to identify a pool of highly qualified candidates. The board will select a minimum of three finalists to present to the governor.
The Kentucky Economic Development Partnership Board was established in 1992 as the governing body of the state’s economic development cabinet.
The board is made up of 13 public and private sector members, allowing the cabinet to remain bipartisan and focused on implementing long-term economic development strategies.