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ESDC names media executive Peter Davidson as Executive Director

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has recently been rather thin on top, with the departure this summer of CEO Marisa Lago, a yet-unconfirmed Chairman, Dennis Mullen of Rochester, and the long goodbye from Avi Schick.

Now media executive Peter Davidson has been named Executive Director, and will oversee Atlantic Yards, among many other projects.

(By the way, Susan Rahm, the mysterious volunteer who apparently played a key role on the ESDC's Atlantic Yards, was notably absent at the September 17 board meeting when Atlantic Yards was approved. Update: I didn't see her, but another person there said she was in the building. She certainly wasn't at the table.)

The press release

From a press release from the ESDC:
PETER DAVIDSON APPOINTED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the appointment of Peter W. Davidson as the agency’s new Executive Director. Mr. Davidson, an experienced dealmaker and executive in the private sector, will oversee the management of all ESD’s statewide subsidiaries and its large-scale urban development projects, as well as its divisions of Marketing, Advertising, and Tourism.

Mr. Davidson is a long time media executive, having founded and operated six different media companies in New York in newspaper, radio, television, advertising, and market research, with many of them geared toward the Hispanic community. From 1989 to 2000, he was owner and publisher of El Diario/La Prensa, the leading Spanish-language daily in the United States. Known as a creative business leader, he has piloted complex deals, structured numerous equity and debt-raising transactions, and acted as lead negotiator in multiple financings, acquisitions, and asset sales.

For the past nine years, Mr. Davidson was also Chairman of the New York City based J.M. Kaplan Fund, where he oversaw grant-making focused on waterfront access, transportation, and infrastructure in New York City, the protection of immigrants throughout the United States, and archeological conservation worldwide.

“Peter brings a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur to Empire State Development,” said Dennis M. Mullen, Empire State Development Chairman & CEO, designate. “He is a well-respected business leader, and with his vision and energy, we will be able to move forward with important development projects that stimulate the economy while providing important capital investment. Peter’s knowledge and expertise, particularly of business and government leaders in New York City, make him a perfect addition to ESD, and we welcome him to the team.”

As Executive Director, Mr. Davidson will work under the leadership of Mr. Mullen to spur economic growth and foster job creation in New York State through large-scale urban development projects, such as the development of Governor’s Island, the revitalization of Erie Canal Harbor, the expansion and renovation of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park. He will also oversee ESD’s direct development work on such projects as Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Midtown Rising in Rochester.

“I am honored that Dennis has given me this incredible opportunity,” said Mr. Davidson. “Our economy faces significant challenges, and I am eager to bring fresh ideas and energy to the organization in whatever way I can.”

Mr. Davidson is a graduate of Stanford University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. He is an active member of the Brooklyn community, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Mr. Davidson’s first day at Empire State Development is Thursday, October 1, 2009. He will be based in ESD’s New York City office.

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