Gov. Phil Murphy — Photo by Edwin Torres/Governor’s Office
By Joshua Burd
Gov. Phil Murphy has named a new board chair of the Economic Development Authority, tapping a fellow former Goldman Sachs executive as part of his plan to overhaul the agency.
Murphy on Friday appointed Kevin Quinn to the post, touting his experience as an investor in the technology industry. Besides having spent more than 20 years at Goldman, Quinn founded Genki Advisory, an advisory and investment firm focused on early stage companies, whose portfolio spans more than 30 firms in the tech, consumer and health care sectors.
He replaces Laurence Downes, a well-respected executive who recently accepted Murphy’s call to step down as chairman of the EDA. The governor has lashed out at the authority in recent months, blasting its oversight of the state’s high-profile tax incentive programs and the volume of subsidies awarded under his predecessor, Gov. Chris Christie.
“Reclaiming New Jersey’s status as an economic power requires a strong and focused EDA that will work tirelessly to implement the policies our economy needs to grow,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “Economic development is much more than providing tax incentives to a few big corporations, and requires investing in our diverse people, ideas and businesses. With Kevin’s wealth of experience, I am confident that he will be able to advance our vision for a new economy in which companies flourish and workers prosper.”
During his time with Goldman, Quinn worked with high-tech companies in the firm’s investment banking division, serving in senior roles in the firm’s New York, San Francisco and Tokyo offices, according to a news release. In 2012, he retired as a partner and co-head of its global technology banking business.
Prior to his time at the investment bank, Quinn worked as a consultant at Bain & Co. in its Boston office.
Murphy, also a Goldman alumnus, on Friday said Quinn will be integral to implementing his plans to reform tax incentive programs such as Grow New Jersey, which has been a key driver of the state’s commercial real estate sector in recent years. But the program, which is set to lapse on June 30, came under fire earlier this year after a scathing audit by the state comptroller alleged mismanagement by the EDA and abuse by recipients of the subsidies.
The report has stoked Murphy’s calls to scale back and cap programs such as Grow New Jersey, which has raised alarm within the real estate sector. He has said that he believes in tax credits as part of a broader economic development strategy, one that he hopes to focus on technology, science and other companies with high growth potential.
“I’m honored to be appointed by Gov. Murphy as the new chairman of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority,” Quinn said. “It is clear that the Economic Development Authority is in dire need of reform and I am committed to realizing Gov. Murphy’s vision of a stronger and fairer economy, and rebuilding our economy from the middle class outward. I am excited to take on this new challenge and bring my experience to the agency during this critical juncture.”
Tim Sullivan, who was appointed by Murphy as the authority’s CEO, offered his own praise for the pick as part of the governor’s announcement.
“Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, the EDA is working to reclaim New Jersey’s leadership position in the innovation economy, and Kevin’s experience and expertise will be invaluable in pursuing that critical goal,” said Sullivan, who assumed the post last year. “I’m thrilled Gov. Murphy has chosen him to chair the EDA board and am looking forward to working with him to advance the governor’s economic development agenda.”