Phoenix Biz Leader Backs Out of San Diego Job

7/10/11Follow @bvbigelow

Less than two days after publicly accepting the top job at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC), Barry Broome changed his mind, saying Friday afternoon he had decided to remain in Phoenix, AZ, where he heads the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. EDC leaders introduced Broome to reporters Wednesday morning, saying he would take over in San Diego on Aug. 1. In a statement late Friday, the EDC says its “executive search committee will convene to secure a leader committed to San Diego and to the organization’s new regional jobs-development strategy.”

(The strategy has set a goal of growing 220,000 jobs here by 2020 in partnership with industry associations representing San Diego’s core economic strengths in life sciences, cleantech, communications, software, electronics, and defense.)

In a statement released by the San Diego EDC, Broome said, “There was an overwhelming response from the Greater Phoenix community for me to stay, and I felt compelled to honor this tremendous support.” He did not respond to a query from Xconomy today.

Broome’s change of heart came as a complete surprise in San Diego, according to Lauree Sahba, the EDC’s chief operating officer. Asked if the Phoenix council had made a counter-offer with increased compensation to keep Broome, Sahba said in a weekend e-mail, “No, their statements indicate they did not.” Broome called a number of executive board members in Phoenix Thursday night, saying he wanted to remain in Phoenix, according to local news accounts.

Broome told the Phoenix Business Journal “GPEC and the board extended their support to me,” he said. “They said if I wanted to stay, you can stay. Professionally, the opportunity in San Diego is staggering. But at the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be.” The weekly also reported that Broome made the decision without changes to his contract, pay, or benefits in Phoenix.

Debra Reed, chairman of the EDC’s 70-plus member board of directors, said, “We are disappointed with this decision, especially after announcing it publicly. However, San Diego has one of the world’s most diverse economies, and we have had interest in the position from some of the country’s top economic development professionals. We will move forward.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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