Miamian at state economic development helm
By Scott Blake
Miami businessman and civic leader Hunting Deutsch is the new head of the state's latest economic development agency.
Mr. Deutsch started his new job Monday as executive director of the Tallahassee-based Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, created last year in a merger of agencies to consolidate the state's economic development and support functions.
"I am honored Governor Scott chose me… and I look forward to supporting" Gov. Scott and state Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope's "role in attracting new and expanding businesses to the Sunshine State," Mr. Deutsch said in a statement.
"Like Governor Scott," he added, "I understand that turning our unemployment system into a reemployment system is critical to developing the most skilled workforce in the nation and I am committed to helping those who want a job, find successful employment opportunities."
Telephone calls to Mr. Deutsch's office on Tuesday were not returned.
An announcement from Gov. Scott's office said Mr. Deutsch has more than 30 years of senior-level experience in the banking industry. Most recently, it said, he served as executive vice president of wealth management at Miami Lakes-based BankUnited Financial Corp. and as president of BankUnited Financial Services from 2006 to 2009.
In 2009, federal regulators shut down BankUnited in what was the failure of Florida's largest financial institution at the time, costing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. more than $5 billion. The bank was sold to a private equity group and has since improved its financial condition.
Mr. Deutsch has been a member of the University of Miami President's Council and the Board of Governors of the Dade Community Foundation. He served on the University of Miami board of trustees from 2001 to 2005 and was president of the University of Miami Alumni Association from 2002 to 2003, according to the governor's office.
In addition, Mr. Deutsch earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Miami, the statement said.
"I am committed to making Florida the No. 1 state in the nation for job creation, and fostering a climate that promotes economic development is key," Gov. Scott said in the statement. "Hunting has a strong and experienced background and I am confident he will do a great job…"
The Department of Economic Opportunity has several divisions handling functions such as unemployment compensation, workforce services, strategic business development and community development.
The department's website lists its goals as:
nIncrease Florida's global competitiveness as a destination for business, capital, talent, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
nPromote Florida as the world destination of choice for business and industry.
nFacilitate business development through delivery of world-class customer service.
Mr. Deutsch already is the third person to lead the new department. He replaced interim executive director Cynthia Lorenzo, formerly chief of the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. Ms. Lorenzo filled in for Doug Darling, the new department's original executive director, who announced his resignation in January, citing "personal reasons."
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