Ben Wu resigns as head of Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. on August 3, 2022, to include more details and commentary.

Ben Wu, chairman and chief executive of the County Economic Development Corporation, is stepping down, the organization announced Wednesday. His resignation will take effect on August 15, a press release said.

The statement did not specify why Wu is stepping down. Bill Thompkins, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the economic development corporation, will become president and chief executive officer, the organization said.

Wu had led the organization since December 2019. Previously, he served in the Maryland Department of Commerce as Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, beginning in 2015. Prior to that, he served as Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce. for technology policy under President George W. Bush.

County Economic Development Corporation helps connect businesses with incentives, tax credits and programs, find business support or loans for specialty minority, women or veteran-owned businesses , according to its website.

Wu could not immediately be reached for comment by phone or text on Wednesday.

He had been a leader in expediting the county permitting process for the expansion of biotechnology facilities, and was involved in the Viva White Oak project in East County, a planned community near campus. from White Oak of the United States Food and Drug Administration and Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. This project would create up to 7 million square feet of commercial development and up to 5,000 residential units in a village and “life science center”.

A county government source, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss the details of Wu’s resignation, said the economic development corporation’s board recently decided not to review Wu’s contract with the company. ‘organization. This contract was due to expire at the end of this year, the source said.

There have been complaints about staff retention and messaging from the economic development corporation under Wu’s tenure, the source said.

“There was a constant drumbeat of displeasure about Ben [Wu] since I’ve been here… there’s been a sense of stagnation with the MCEDC,” the source said.

July’s schedule for the County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors shows a closed session related to personnel matters. Kevin Beverly, chairman of the board, could not immediately be reached for comment by phone Wednesday.

Board member Andrew Friedson, an ex-officio member of the company’s board, said ex-officio members were never involved in personnel decisions and could not further explain why Wu was resigning. But he added that Thompkins is in a good position to lead the organization in the months ahead.

“He has extensive business experience and brings operational experience gained in a variety of different roles,” Friedson said. “So I have the utmost confidence in his abilities.”

Steve Bohnel can be contacted at [email protected]

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