The day after it was revealed the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation had failed to collect on millions of dollars in taxpayer loans, Gov. Scott Walker named Reed Hall, former executive director of the Marshfield Clinic, as its interim CEO.
According to a statement from Walker’s office Friday, Hall will become interim CEO of WEDC, the private-public entity focused on building the business economy of Wisconsin, starting on Nov. 2.
Current WEDC CEO and Secretary Paul Jadin is leaving at the end of October to become the president of Thrive, an economic development partnership in Madison. Hall will serve until a replacement can be found, according to the statement.
Hall served as executive director of the clinic from January 2000 to July 2012, when he retired. According to the statement, prior to becoming executive director, he served as a general counsel to the clinic for almost 24 years. The clinic is one of the largest private medical clinics in the United States, and its net revenue exceeded $1.8 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.
Tom Thieding, WEDC communications manager, said the WEDC has contracted with the Madison-based QTI Group to search for candidates to eventually fill the CEO position. He said the search for a new CEO is just beginning, and WEDC chose the group because they wanted to put the search on a national scale.
“[We chose QTI] just to cast a pretty broad net across the nation, assisting us for the search of a long term candidate,” Thieding said.
WEDC’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Klonsinski also resigned Thursday. Thieding said he could not comment on why he left.
The resignation follows the discovery Thursday that WEDC had lost track of $8 million of taxpayer money. WEDC had given the money to 99 private businesses that are now overdue on repaying the loans. The WEDC plans to pursue legal action if the companies do not pay the money back.
Hall also served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and was national chair 2008 through 2009, the governor’s statement said.
According to the governor’s statement, Hall is also a member of the Board of Directors of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce as well as its executive committee.
In an email to The Badger Herald, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said WMC spent $4 million to help elect Walker and support him in the recall elections.
He said he questioned whether the appointment would help restore accountability to the WEDC.
“Walker’s WEDC has come up so short because there is no accountability in handing out millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded giveaways to businesses,” Ross said. “And Walker’s ‘solution’ is to put a board member from the state’s biggest business lobby in charge.”
According to Ross, Jadin was a WMC board member, and the Walker administration has made the WEDC into an entity providing taxpayer money to big business with no accountability and no requirement to create jobs.