- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - The president of an organization that focuses on drawing and keeping businesses in Detroit is stepping down to start his own consulting firm, the agency announced Thursday.

George Jackson will leave his job as president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. on March 31. Jackson, who has led the organization since 2002, will remain on its board and executive committee, said Rod Gillum, the board’s chairman.

A search for Jackson’s replacement is underway, Gillum said.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. is a nonprofit and the lead agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in Detroit.

Under Jackson’s tenure, the organization has helped lead the transformation of the city’s riverfront, helped restore the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, kept the General Motors world headquarters downtown, and negotiated a deal for a new professional hockey arena and entertainment complex.

“George has been in the forefront of most of the positive business activity in Detroit since he came to DEGC,” said former Mayor Dave Bing. “He has had his hand on all the economic development successes we see around us. He brings credibility to developers because he knows the nuances of financial packages, and the ability to put together a first-rate project.”

Jackson has worked in the economic development field since 1984 and spent 27 years at DTE Energy before being hired at the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

He has been thinking about moving on to the private sector for at least five years, Jackson said Thursday in a statement.

“I see tremendous opportunities here, and will continue to support its revitalization, but in a new role,” he said of Detroit.

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