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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + project FAQ (pinned post)

New ESD head is Eric Gertler, replacing Howard Zemsky; no reason to expect changes regarding Atlantic Yards

In a scoop before the official announcement yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's Jimmy Vielkind wrote New York Gov. Cuomo Nominates New State Economic Czar, indicating that "Howard Zemsky, a real-estate developer from Buffalo who has held the post since 2015," will be succeeded as president and CEO of Empire State Development by Eric Gertler, "a lawyer and publishing executive."

Gertler, currently Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and formerly co-publisher of the New York Daily News, has previously served as Executive VP of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as Managing Director of that body's Center for Economic Transformation.

He's been an ESD board member since June 2018. As Vielkind wrote, the Cuomo administration has "been searching for a successor to Mr. Zemsky for several months."

So Gertler and Zemsky come after other ESD leaders, including Kenneth Adams, Dennis Mullen, Marisa Lago, Pat Foye, and Charles Gargano. The one constant? The developers get their way, as in the vote last week.

Gertler, by the way, was somewhat active during the Atlantic Yards discussion last week, asking ESD staff--see video here--if they were sure the law was being followed.

(Some points to Adams, though, for living in Brooklyn and at least recognizing residents' concerns and meeting with them.)

"I have boundless faith in the economic potential of New York State," Gertler told Newsday. "I look forward to supporting Governor Cuomo in further strengthening our dynamic economy for this and future generations."

Any Atlantic Yards angle?

Does this mean anything for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park?

Also, since Zemsky will remain as ESD Board Chair, it looks like he'll remain, at least nominally, as chair of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, the meetings of which he typically misses. (That means another director takes the role as chairperson.)

Now that he's stepping down from an active ESD role, there's even less reason to attend.


The press release, in full

AUGUST 19, 2019 Albany, NY
Governor Cuomo Announces Nomination of Eric Gertler to Serve as President and CEO of Empire State Development
Mr. Gertler Currently Serves as Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and Will Assume ESD Role in September

Outgoing CEO Howard Zemsky Will Maintain Position as ESD Chair

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the nomination of Eric Gertler to serve as President and CEO of Empire State Development (ESD), New York State's chief economic development agency. Mr. Gertler, who is currently the Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and has been on the board of ESD since June 2018, will assume his role effective September 3, 2019. He will replace Howard Zemsky, who will remain Chair of the ESD Board.

"Eric is an innovative leader who spent decades at the intersection of business, media and government - making him uniquely suited to run our chief economic development and tourism agency," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm grateful to Howard for continuing to serve as chairman of the board after a successful term overseeing this administration's locally-driven economic development strategy and in particular helping turn around Buffalo's economy and bringing young people back to Upstate cities. New York is the better for his service and the combination of these two fantastic leaders will be dynamite for future growth across the state."

Incoming President and CEO of Empire State Development Eric Gertler said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for the confidence he is placing in me and for the privilege to serve New York State and its citizens. I have boundless faith in the economic potential of New York State, and I look forward to supporting Governor Cuomo in further strengthening our dynamic economy for this and future generations. As we continue to attract business investment, stimulate new industry, reinforce our existing infrastructure and invest in workforce development, we will build on New York State's legacy as one of the nation's most decisive economic engines."

Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky said, "I have worked closely with Eric as a board member and have complete confidence that he is the right person to lead the critical work of ESD. His experience, insight and understanding of both New York and the business community will be of enormous benefit to his work at ESD and to the State. I look forward to a productive partnership with Eric as I continue as Chairman of the Board of Empire State Development."

In addition to his role as Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report, the nation's leading news authority on rankings, Mr. Gertler has also overseen Ulysses Ventures, a multi-strategy investment fund based in New York City. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as Managing Director of the Center for Economic Transformation under multiple mayoral administrations, where he was responsible for spurring economic development by overseeing more than 100 initiatives and directing hundreds of millions of dollars of city investments into the local economy. Among these initiatives, Gertler spearheaded the City's $150 million life science fund and associated programs to accelerate the life sciences industry in New York City, oversaw development of the City's tech platform and expanded the BigApps civic competition.

Mr. Gertler is a published author and has written and spoken extensively on key policy issues and economic development priorities ranging from urban and state matters, workforce development, infrastructure investment, technology advancement and entrepreneurship and innovation. He serves as a trustee to the Zuckerman Institute and Zuckerman Family Foundation, and as a board member of Columbia University's Zuckerman Mind Brain and Behavior Institute. He is on the Board of Governors for Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University as well as the Weizmann Institute of Science. He is a member of Young Presidents' Organization and has served as a past Chair of the New York Metro chapter. He is also the Chairman of the American-Israel Friendship League. From 2015 to 2017, Mr. Gertler served as Co-Chairman and Co-Publisher of the New York Daily News. He began his career as an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

A graduate of Brown University, Mr. Gertler holds degrees from the Sorbonne at the University of Paris, Institut D'Etudes Politiques in Paris and a law degree from American University, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review.