Intersect Illinois, Gov. Rauner's economic development nonprofit, gets new CEO from upstate New York

Gov. Bruce Rauner's nonprofit economic development corporation has a new CEO, and he's coming from upstate New York.

Mark Peterson, currently the president and CEO of the economic development engine for the Rochester, N.Y., region, on Thursday was named CEO of Intersect Illinois. He will assume his new position June 15.

Intersect Illinois, which supports marketing of the state to businesses and helps negotiate state incentives, chose Peterson in a nationwide search, Chief Operating Officer Andria Winters said.

"He comes from upstate New York, and New York is similar to Illinois in that you've got a major metro area and other surrounding areas," Winters said. "He's got that experience of looking at the lens of the whole state or a different part of the state than the major metro area."

Peterson will take the helm from fifth-generation Illinoisan Jim Schultz, who left his post as director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to head Intersect Illinois, which is funded through private donations. Schultz announced in January that he planned to leave the nonprofit and transition back into private equity.

Rauner created the economic development nonprofit by executive order in early 2016 and directed the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to work with the organization. Pressured by the budget stalemate, he said at the time that tapping private-sector resources could help relieve burdens on taxpayers and help with government efficiency.

He also said using a private organization for the state's economic development efforts could help get around hiring restrictions like salary limitations and seniority rules. Democrats have argued that Intersect Illinois lacks transparency and accountability to taxpayers and lawmakers.

One of the earliest deals the nonprofit helped negotiate was the purchase of a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal by Rivian Automotive, a Michigan-based electric car startup that has yet to produce a vehicle. In addition to local incentives, the company is set to receive $49.2 million in state tax credits over 10 years in exchange for creating 1,000 jobs by the end of 2024. Intersect Illinois also has been credited with helping bring Amazon facilities — and thousands of promised jobs — to the state.

Intersect Illinois has seven full-time employees, Winters said.

The organization also named 10 new board members. They are:

Doug Oberhelman, retired chairman and CEO of Caterpillar

William Osborn, former CEO of Northern Trust and chair of Northwestern University's board of trustees

James Reynolds Jr., founder, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based global investment firm Loop Capital

Andrew McKenna Sr., chairman of Morton Grove-based paper company Schwarz Supply Source

Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories

•David Casper, president and CEO of BMO Harris Bank and group head of commercial banking

Frederick Waddell, CEO of Northern Trust

•Anthony Anderson, retired vice chairman of Ernst & Young

•Juan Luciano, president and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland

•E. Scott Santi, CEO of Illinois Tool Works

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