Headshot of New ESD President & CEO Eric Gertler

Welcoming Empire State Development’s New President & CEO

Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo announced his nomination of veteran business executive Eric Gertler as ESD President and CEO—while continuing Howard Zemsky’s role as chair of the ESD board. The changes are effective as of Sept. 3.

Gertler, the current Executive Chairman of U.S. News and World Report, has been an ESD board member since 2018 and accompanied the Governor earlier this summer on a solidarity trip and trade mission to Israel. The Governor called Gertler an “innovative leader” uniquely qualified to lead ESD based on his unique mix of experience “at the intersection of business, media and government.” That experience includes oversight of Ulysses Ventures, a multi-strategy investment fund based in New York City and prior leadership experience at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Center for Economic Transformation—and as an author, newspaper publisher, foundation trustee and university board member. Gertler, a graduate of Brown University, also holds degrees from the Sorbonne and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and has a J.D. from American University.

Howard Zemsky, who continues as Chair of ESD, echoed the Governor’s confidence in Gertler’s leadership. In a note to ESD staff, Zemsky said “Eric is a flat-out fabulous choice to head ESD. He brings ‎extensive and relevant private sector experience closely aligned with our mission, including private equity and venture capital investing. Add to that his experience with municipal economic development as EVP with NYC Economic Development Corporation under Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio, again aligned with our goals of growing the tech and life science economies.” Zemsky praised Gertler’s “engaged, prepared and insightful” ESD board service and, “most importantly,” the fact that “Eric places the highest priority on ethics and integrity, on leadership by example and on the importance of respect and decency.”

Zemsky said he looks forward to their ESD partnership, which remains focused on “accomplishing great things for the economy and for the people of New York State.” He also described his tenure at ESD, which began in 2015, as “the honor of a lifetime for me.”

Gertler is already busy gearing up for the transition, with planned trips to ESD and regional offices around the state, and is voicing his “boundless faith” in New York State’s economic potential “as we continue to attract business investment, stimulate new industry, reinforce our existing infrastructure and invest in workforce development.”