VOL. 127 | NO. 96 | Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Gov. Bryant Names New Economic Development Chief
JEFF AMY | Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Gov. Phil Bryant has named Florida economic developer Brent Christensen as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.
Christensen will replace interim director Jim Barksdale, the former Netscape CEO, who has served as the state's chief economic developer since January. Barksdale helped lead the search for a permanent director.
Christensen began his career in Mississippi at the Area Development Partnership in Hattiesburg, Miss. For the past 10 years, he has served as president and CEO of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce in Gainesville, Fla.
Bryant made the announcement Tuesday at the close of the first meeting of his Mississippi Works Committee. The group is developing strategies to increase economic investment in Mississippi.
Christensen would be the first permanent MDA director since March 2011, when former chief Gray Swoope left to head Florida's economic development efforts. The appointment requires Senate confirmation.
Christensen holds a bachelor's degree in economics and public policy studies from Duke University and a master's degree in business from the University of South Florida.
A law passed this year says the state can pay the director up to $180,000, or 150 percent of the governor's salary. That law also says the director can receive extra pay from outside sources, with no limit. Contributors would be listed on the agency's web page.
A supplement was paid during Gov. Kirk Fordice's administration, but not under Govs. Ronnie Musgrove or Haley Barbour.
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