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ACA backtracks on plans to announce new CEO

Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Don Cardon listens to comments from a board member during the agency's final meeting before it officially transitions from the Arizona Department of Commerce to the Arizona Commerce Authority on July 1. (Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

After initially saying it would announce its new CEO at a meeting Friday, the Arizona Commerce Authority now says the selection may be pushed back and that it doesn’t even have a list of finalists yet.

Outgoing Commerce Authority CEO Don Cardon said today he doesn’t know when the public-private economic development agency will be ready to announce its next leader.

“We had talked about at the board meeting potentially being ready to announce someone, but from what I understand from the governor and from Mr. Colangelo, they are continuing to evaluate, with the input of the selection committee, a host of people,” Cardon said, referring to ACA co-chair Jerry Colangelo.

Cardon said the authority’s selection committee is reviewing a list of nine or 10 candidates, but said they are not yet finalists. The ACA has so far refused to release the names of candidates for the CEO position, despite a public records request by the Arizona Capitol Times.

“We continue to discuss the merits of those and at some point in the future, ultimate finalists will be identified through the governor and Mr. Colangelo,” Cardon said. “The (next CEO) may be in this nine or 10, or they may not.”

Gov. Jan Brewer, who co-chairs the ACA board with Colangelo, also said today she doesn’t know if the authority will be ready to announce a CEO on Friday.

“I don’t know what’s on the agenda, nor do I know if we have selected the right person at this particular time and day,” Brewer said.

The ACA has not yet released its agenda for the meeting. But last week, agency spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer said, “the new CEO will be named at the May 18 board meeting.”

Commerce Authority CEOs are chosen by the ACA’s 19-member board of directors.

After a 2011 search for a new CEO, Cardon – the former state Commerce Department director who was the interim CEO for the new agency – stayed on at the request of Brewer and co-chair Jerry Colangelo.

The authority hired an outside firm, DHR International, to conduct the search for Cardon’s replacement.

Cardon announced in January that he was leaving the ACA later this year. He will continue working with the ACA for a transitional period after the new CEO is hired.

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