Leadership of Empire State Development

Kenneth Adams

Kenneth AdamsKenneth Adams has served as President & CEO of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development since February 2011. 

Empire State Development, or “ESD”, is the economic development agency of New York State.  Commissioner Adams and his colleagues manage a broad range of programs, incentives and services designed to increase private sector investment and job creation in New York.  The organization has a staff of over 400 people located in 12 offices across the State.  

Mr. Adams works closely with Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy to implement the Regional Economic Development Councils.  Recently, ESD launched Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s newest economic development initiative, Start-Up NY.  This unique program offers 10-year abatements on all taxes, including corporate and personal income taxes, to qualifying companies that co-locate on college and university campuses in New York. 

Mr. Adams came to ESD from The Business Council of New York State, the State’s leading business association, where he served as President and CEO from 2006 to 2011.  Prior to leading the Business Council, Mr. Adams was President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District.  He was the founding Executive Director of New York Cares. 

Mr. Adams is a resident of Brooklyn, New York, where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

To contact Kenneth Adams, please send an email to president@esd.ny.gov. Please be sure to include your mailing address as responses may be sent by U.S. mail. 

Board of Directors

The Corporation is governed by a Board of Directors comprising two ex-officio members and seven members appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. The Chair of the Empire State Development Board is selected by the Governor and also serves as the Commissioner of Economic Development. Board members serve without compensation. 

Kenneth Adams, Director
Empire State Development, President and CEO
New York State Department of Economic Development, Commissioner
Confirmed – April 5, 2011

Derrick D. Cephas, Esq., Director
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Partner
Confirmed – January 29, 2008
Re-Appointed – May 20, 2009

Robert R. Dyson, Director
The Dyson-Kissner Moran Corporation, Chairman & CEO
Confirmed – March 16, 2010

Joyce Miller, Director
Tier One Public Strategies, CEO
Confirmed – May 4, 2010

Benjamin Lawsky, Ex Officio Director
NYS Department of Financial Services, Superintendent
Confirmed – May 24, 2011

ESD Committees

Next ESD Board Meeting:
Board typically meets the third Thursday of every month.

Board Materials Archive

ESD Executive Management Team

Kenneth Adams
President  & CEO and Commissioner of New York State Department of Economic Development

Joe Chan
EVP, Real Estate Development & Public/Private Partnerships

Steve Cohen
EVP Small Business Services & Community Economic Development

Liz Fine
EVP, Legal & General Counsel

John Gilstrap
EVP, Business Attraction & Expansion

Rhoda Glickman
SVP, Film, Arts and New Media Development

Sam Hoyt
Regional President, Western New York

Charles Imohiosen
Chief Operating Officer

Richard Newman
EVP, State Marketing Strategy

Mehul J. Patel
Chief of Staff

Kay Sarlin Wright
EVP, Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives

Margaret Tobin
Chief Financial Officer

Leslie Whatley
EVP, Start-Up NY

Kevin Younis
EVP, Public Policy, Planning & Incentives

For more information, contact:
ESD Office of Public Affairs
(800) 260-7313


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