Gov. Ned Lamont has named a Goldman Sachs managing director to a pair of top economic posts as part of his administration’s economic development strategy.
David Lehman, a managing director at Goldman, will serve both as the state’s new commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development – replacing Catherine Smith, who announced her departure a few days ago – and as the governor’s senior economic adviser.
Lamont also announced that the DECD and the nonprofit Connecticut Economic Resource Center Inc. (CERC) will form a public-private partnership to be known as the Partnership to Advance the Connecticut of Tomorrow (PACT).
Through that collaboration, CERC will function as the recruitment arm on behalf of the state, while DECD will continue to support, promote, and advocate for existing businesses while also serving as the central resource to help new businesses navigate state and local government to minimize lag time, enhance services, and expedite relocation.
Part of Lehman’s job will be to ensure a tight alignment between CERC and DECD, Lamont said.
“For too long, we’ve looked at economic growth and development in silos,” the governor said, “instead of with a comprehensive view that allows us to see the impact of our decisions on the long-term financial sustainability and success of our state, and therefore, our residents. In addition, (Lehman’s) extensive experience working in commercial real estate will allow us to fully maximize opportunity zones through DECD, many of which are in the most distressed areas of our state.”
“I’ve been impressed with Gov. Lamont’s unique ideas to bring the private sector to the table to work in collaboration with state government, and that’s the mindset that I will bring with me to this new role,” said Lehman, who like Lamont is a Greenwich resident. “Being able to help shape the state’s economic policy and oversee DECD, as well as the coordination of PACT – which will help solidify Connecticut’s reputation as a state that is ready, willing, and able to help support new and growing business ventures – is something that I am energized by and eager to begin.”
As part of the formation of PACT, the membership of CERC’s board of directors will be revised and expanded to more accurately reflect both the geography and business diversity of the state.
In addition, CERC’s research will focus on competitive insights to help support business retention, expansion and recruitment. The municipal support program will be more specifically directed toward economic development and project management activities. Former PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi of Greenwich and former Webster Bank Chairman and CEO Jim Smith of Waterbury were selected last week to serve as co-chairs of the board and will help steer that transition.
Lehman is currently the global head of real estate finance for the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs. He also has leadership responsibility for the company’s Public Sector and Infrastructure Finance group. He has been with Goldman for 15 years and in the private sector for almost 20 years. He will begin his new position with the state the week of Feb. 19, and his nomination will be sent to the General Assembly for its advice and consent.