Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ken Adams, former head of Brooklyn Chamber and MetroTech BID, named new CEO of ESDC

Well, in naming Kenneth Adams as president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen as reaching out to business.

And, despite some gubernatorial concern about the top-down growth model, I wouldn't bet on any changed course on Atlantic Yards.

After all, Adams in 2006, as president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, testified in favor of the project, on behalf of the organization. And he previously headed the MetroTech Business Improvement District, of which Forest City Ratner is a major member.

Still, give the guy a chance; maybe Adams has the integrity to recognize that the ESDC's support of Forest City Ratner's effort to get immigrant investor funding is a tad unseemly.

The Post quoted Adams' father Murray:
The elder Adams -- who in 2006 was part of a group that took on ESDC during a failed legal fight to keep condos out of Brooklyn Bridge Park – said, “I think Kenneth will listen to local concerns.” He cited both the park and the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn as two examples of ESDC ignoring residents' concerns.
The Business Council

More recently Adams has had a bigger portfolio. Crain's reported:
"Ken knows doing business in New York can be like swimming upstream, but now he is in a position to change the tide,” said Kevin Burke, chief executive of Consolidated Edison and chairman of the board at The Business Council of New York State Inc. “Business leaders know and trust him, and for good reason.”

Mr. Adams has been president and CEO of the Business Council, a 2,500-member business lobbying group, since 2006. The group advocates for lower taxes and fewer government mandates on business and has played a leading role in the Committee to Save New York, the coalition Mr. Cuomo asked to form to back his conservative fiscal agenda.
The Times-Union called it a sign Cuomo "is sensitive to upstate and even traditionally Republican concerns."

Past concerns

A 7/24/09 article in The Capitol, headlined Leadership Turnover And Deepening Recession Add To ESDC Woes, cited Adams' concerns:
Meanwhile, upstate regions are waiting for the promised influx of much-needed stimulus dollars to jump-start local economies. And after the state fumbled plans to renew the popular Empire Zone program, which provides a variety of tax credits to companies that invest in certain regions of the state and is set to expire in 2011, many upstate businesses were left with the impression that ESDC was rudderless and directionless.

“In the middle of a profound recession, this policy sent a chilling message to the business community here in New York state, and a terrible message to the rest of the country about how New York treats its businesses,” said Ken Adams, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State. “That did affect the perception. And those perceptions are hard to change.”
Adams, by the way, in 2006 indicated he'd run for David Yassky's 33rd District Council seat if Yassky had won election to Congress. That seat is now occupied by Steve Levin.

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