Governor Steve Beshear’s administration announced today that Larry Hayes, the secretary of the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet for the last seven years, will retire at an undetermined date later this year. A board of the cabinet will immediately conduct a nationwide search to find his replacement.
As secretary of the cabinet, Hayes’ role was to facilitate investment in the state and create new jobs. In a press release, Beshear touted Hayes for his work in overhauling the state’s economic development incentive system, crediting it for spurring more than 700 active projects, over $9 billion in investment, and a potential 58,000 new and retained jobs. He added that Kentucky has recovered from the Great Recession with its highest rate of job growth in 15 years and lowest unemployment rate since June of 2001.
“Larry Hayes has been an invaluable member of my executive cabinet, leading the state’s economic development efforts out of the depths of a severe recession to record high investment, exports and activity,” said Beshear. “It is important that the state not lose any momentum. I have asked the Partnership Board to begin the search process immediately so that we can ensure a seamless transition.”
“The opportunity to lead this Cabinet under the Governor’s and Partnership Board’s direction has been the highlight of my career in both business and government,” said Hayes. “I have been privileged to work with an outstanding staff, and I intend to work diligently to carry out the mission of this Cabinet until a successor is in place.”
Hayes was appointed as secretary of the Economic Development Cabinet in 2009, a year after becoming the interim secretary. He previously served as secretary of Beshear’s executive cabinet.
A longtime government insider in both Frankfort and Louisville, Hayes served as secretary of Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ executive cabinet in the 1980s, as well deputy mayor for Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson from 2003 to 2007. He was also the first president of what would become Greater Louisville Inc. in the late 1980s.
Hayes also currently serves as the chair of the Louisville Arena Authority, which handles the financing and debt service of the downtown KFC Yum! Center.