Gov. Carney, Delaware Prosperity Partnership announce interim CEO

John Riley will help develop strategic plan and lead search for permanent CEO
September 28, 2017

Gov. John Carney announced Sept. 22 that John Riley, a former state director of business development, will serve as interim CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, the newly established public-private partnership that will lead the state's economic development efforts.

In the position, Riley will help launch operations, develop a strategic plan for the new nonprofit, and conduct a search for a permanent chief executive.

"John is well-known and respected across our state, and has significant experience in economic development," said Carney, who will serve as co-chair of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership board. "I'm pleased he has agreed to help us launch the partnership. We are committed to changing the way we do business, fostering innovation and growing our economy. I'm confident John will help position the partnership to succeed."

"Establishment of this entity was a critical step to enhance the state's ability to attract, grow and retain companies; to build a stronger entrepreneurial culture and to support private employers in identifying, recruiting and developing talent," said Rod Ward, president of CSC and co-chair of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership board. "As interim CEO, John will work with the board on the recruitment of a permanent CEO and development of a strategic plan for Delaware."

"Thank you to Gov. Carney and the entire board of the partnership for this opportunity," said Riley. "Delaware has great assets - a talented workforce, a strategic location along I-95, responsive leadership, and great communities up and down our state. I look forward to doing everything I can to attract investment and additional good-paying jobs to our state, and setting up this new partnership to succeed in helping grow our economy."

Riley served as director of business development under Gov. Thomas R. Carper. He retired from Ashland, where he was director of government relations, and previously served as director of public affairs for Hercules Inc. Riley has continued to be active in economic development and assisted Gov. Jack Markell's administration with Delaware's strategy in responding to the DuPont-Dow merger. Members of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership board approved the hiring of Riley at an organizational meeting.

Carney, who took office in January, has made it a top priority to restructure Delaware's economic development efforts, and strategically partnering with the private sector on economic growth was a key recommendation of the Governor's Action Plan for Delaware. Recently, Carney signed House Bill 226, creating the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and a new division within the Department of State to support small business growth.

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership will be run day-to-day by the chief executive officer and a full-time staff. The nonprofit will lead business marketing efforts for the state, with a focus on attracting early-stage and technology-focused businesses, recruiting large employers, and expanding international business opportunities for Delaware companies. Its leaders also will work with employers and Delaware educators to fill key talent gaps in the state. The state will jointly fund the partnership's operations with private business.