Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Mark Hogan has announced he will step down Sept. 3.
Gov. Tony Evers has not appointed Hogan’s replacement, but a spokesman for the governor said a search is ongoing for the public-private agency’s next secretary.
Hogan, who announced in June his plans to resign, said in a resignation letter to Evers his final day with WEDC falls exactly four years after he was appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker.
“I realize there may have been some who thought my relationship with you could not work, and perhaps there were some who simply did not want it to work. I have always believed that trying to prove people wrong is a waste of focus,” Hogan said in the letter to Evers. “Rather, I am proud that the many successes we have achieved together speak for themselves.”
Evers can appoint a new secretary on Sept. 1, but a timeline for when Hogan’s successor will be announced was not available.
“I think it’s going to be somebody that leads the organization in a manner that is transparent and accountable,” said Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, a WEDC board member. “I think it will be a priority to make sure they continue to improve accountability and transparency … there are definitely things I think WEDC needs to do better.”
While Hintz said he did not support the creation of WEDC, he acknowledged some things have improved under Hogan’s watch.
“Obviously, WEDC struggled, it still has some struggles, but I will say this about secretary Hogan, he has brought a level of stability and professionalism to WEDC that I’m hopeful and confident will continue,” Hintz said.
Hogan said he will offer his assistance to whomever transitions into the role. Additional information on his plans after resignation was not immediately available.
“Secretary Hogan should be proud of his many accomplishments and for how he has handled a challenging transition with dignity and class,” Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, a WEDC board member, said in an email. “I really appreciated working with Mr. Hogan and I look forward to continuing that great working relationship with the new secretary.”
Walker and the Republican-led Legislature in 2011 dissolved the Commerce Department and created WEDC. The public-private agency dispenses more than $3.1 billion a year in tax credits, grants, loans and bonds.
Evers said during his campaign he wished to dissolve WEDC and move its functions to a fully public agency like the former Department of Commerce.
However, during December’s lame-duck legislative session, Republican lawmakers passed a law preventing Evers from appointing Hogan’s replacement before Sept. 1.
The agency has drawn criticism from some over the years for failing to adequately track job creation and incentives.
WEDC negotiated financial incentives with Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer. The company could receive more than $4 billion in state and local tax subsidies if it invests $10 billion and creates 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin over 15 years.
In addition, audits by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau have pointed to issues with how the agency has tracked job creation and awards given to companies.
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