The head of the troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation plans to step down from his role at the agency near the end of September.
In a statement, WEDC Secretary/CEO Reed Hall announced he plans to retire from the job creation agency on September 25, almost three years after he was appointed to the position. Hall noted that, when he took the job in October of 2012, it was only intended to be on an interim basis of three months. “Three years later, it is time for me to return to my previous retired status.”
Hall has overseen the public-private partnership behind WEDC during a time when the agency has come under intense scrutiny for its policies and practices. State audits and other reports have found the agency, formed by Governor Scott Walker and Republicans in 2011 as a replacement for the Department of Commerce, often failed to track or even evaluate millions of dollars in loans made to businesses.
Democrats who sit on the WEDC board have repeatedly called for Hall’s resignation and for a federal investigation of the agency.
Hall noted in his statement that he has worked with staff to increase transparency and accountability of WEDC’s operations, by putting in place checks and balances, enhanced financial tracking, and expanding the information provide to the WEDC Board, the Wisconsin Legislature, and the public.
Also in a statement, WEDC Board Chairman Dan Ariens thanked Hall for his service, saying “he has done a tremendous job during a very challenging time for WEDC. Throughout multiple audits, budgets, and successes, Reed’s steady leadership has been instrumental as the agency has fostered relationships with job creators in all regions of the State. Wisconsin’s economy is stronger because of Reed Hall.”
The agency has not yet indicated who may be tapped to replace Hall after he retires.