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Kenneth Adams

In an attempt to signal New York is "open for business," Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped the state business council's CEO to head the Empire State Development Corp.

Cuomo nominated Kenneth Adams on Wednesday to serve as president and CEO of ESDC, as well as commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.

Adams has led the Business Council of New York State since 2006. The council represents 2,500 member businesses, chambers of commerce, and professional and trade associations.

Cuomo said his selection, which will require approval from the state Senate, is a move toward changing the leadership structure at ESDC and the state's business climate.

"A fast-growing and forward-thinking economy begins with changing the state's business climate to attract and maintain cutting-edge companies," Cuomo said in a statement. "Ken is clearly the right person at the right time for New York."

Adams will also work closely with the lieutenant governor to implement Regional Economic Development Councils across the state.

He succeeds Dennis Mullen, who was appointed in 2009 as the controversial Empire Zone tax credits were replaced with the Excelsior program. Mullen was the agency's fifth CEO in three years.

Various businesses and economic development groups reacted positively to the announcement.

Locally, Edward Bartholomew, economic/community development director for the city of Glens Falls, said in a statement that he has worked with Adams on issues such as workers compensation reform and called the appointment "excellent."

"Ken will bring high energy to the job," Bartholomew said. "Ken knows upstate New York."


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