Walker names new CEO of WEDC

Reed Hall, former executive of the Marshfield Clinic, was named the new chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Gov. Scott Walker announced Tuesday. Hall has served as the interim secretary/CEO of WEDC since November.

He was the executive director of Marshfield Clinic from 2000-2010. From 1976 to 2000 he was general counsel for Marshfield Clinic. During the years Reed was at Marshfield Clinic, the clinic added 63 regional clinics and grew from 145 to 180 physicians, with a total staff of 7,500.

“Reed brings a fresh perspective and strong leadership to the WEDC,” said Walker. “Reed’s experience at the Marshfield Clinic, in numerous civic organizations and involvement in creating private sector jobs in Wisconsin makes him a perfect fit for this position. He will be guided by years of experience and a record of effective management in the private sector. I look forward to working with Reed and the WEDC to continue to improve Wisconsin’s business climate.”

In September, Walker named a CEO search committee to conduct a nationwide search to replace departing CEO Paul Jadin, who took a regional economic development post in Madison.

The WEDC has been plagued by a lack of accountability for its corporate loans. The WEDC has failed to track the agency’s more than $56 million in loans, including about $12 million in overdue loans, according to a report by accounting firm Schenck S.C. Auditors also estimated that the agency will not collect about $19 million of its outstanding loans. That includes about $15 million in forgivable loans, as well as about $4 million that are uncollectible.

Hall has said the agency needs a new computer system and additional personnel.

In December a search committee assigned to conduct a national search for a new WEDC CEO submitted three names, all Wisconsin business people, to Walker. But Hall was not on the list. Nevertheless, Walker chose Hall.

“I am excited about this opportunity, and I am pleased to have the confidence and support of the governor and WEDC Search Committee,” said Hall. “As interim CEO and secretary, I have been impressed by the dedication of the WEDC staff and the success WEDC has had in transforming the state’s approach to economic development. I am fully aware of the challenges and opportunities associated with this transition.”

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