MADISON — The CEO of the state economic development agency that's had problems since Gov. Scott Walker created it in 2011 is stepping down.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary Reed Hall said Tuesday, August 25th he plans to retire from the agency. WEDC Board Chairman Dan Ariens thanked Reed for his leadership during a "challenging" time for the agency.
Its troubles have included not tracking past-due loans, leadership turnover and audits that revealed mismanagement. A state audit last fall found the agency lacked documentation justifying spending on expenses and grants during its first two years.
WEDC leaders voted recently to hire a consultant to review its operations and named a new chairman. The agency remains in disarray as Walker campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination.
Hall says his last day will be September 25th.
Governor Walker issued the following statement regarding Reed Hall’s announcement that he will be retiring from his position as Secretary/CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC):
“I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Reed for his service to the state of Wisconsin through his sound leadership at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Reed has overseen a transformational period at WEDC with a steady hand. Under Reed’s guidance, WEDC strengthened its accountability and transparency to taxpayers, improving the public trust, while moving forward the important work of developing economic opportunity for families all around our state. I wish Reed and his family the best in their next phase as he retires from his role at WEDC.”
Moving forward, Governor Walker will work with WEDC Board Chair Dan Ariens, as well as other members of the Board, to determine the best candidate to nominate as Secretary Hall’s replacement, according to Walker's office.
Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) issued this statement:
“I appreciate the public service of WEDC Secretary and CEO Reed Hall. Reed Hall stepped in at WEDC on an interim basis and continued to serve throughout a period of tremendous turnover.
Hopefully with his replacement we can finally realize the promise that was made that WEDC would attract world-class talent from people who have worked and been successful in economic development.
Unfortunately, Hall’s tenure was marred by management failures and a failure to protect Wisconsin taxpayers, which was in part due to his inexperience in the economic development field.
I hope that WEDC’s nonchalant attitude toward following the law ends with Reed Hall’s resignation, but our efforts to reform WEDC won’t end there. WEDC needs not only a major leadership change but also significant structural changes to better serve the workers, entrepreneurs and businesses of Wisconsin.”