Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has selected veteran economic development official Mike Downing to lead the state’s top job-creation agency on a permanent basis. Downing has served as the acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development since April.
He has worked at the agency, which works to bring and grow companies in Missouri and manages most of the state’s 60-plus tax credit programs, for most of the last 30 years. He was previously the agency’s deputy director and led its 2010 strategic planning process.
Nixon has been without a permanent head of the DED for about two years, since former AT&T executive and Kansas Commerce Secretary David Kerr retired at the end of 2011. Nixon’s initial appointment, Jason Hall, was blocked by the Senate. So Nixon named attorney Chris Pieper and then Downing to run the agency on an acting basis. Downing’s promotion to permanent head will need Senate approval.