FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 8, 2019) – Erran Persley has been named the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s commissioner of business development. In the new role, he will oversee the Cabinet’s efforts to generate investment, and create and retain jobs throughout the state. Persley joined the Cabinet in April 2018 as its executive director of international affairs and business development.
“Erran Persley has been an exemplary ambassador for the commonwealth, helping to spread the news worldwide that Kentucky is a premier location to do business,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “Given his proven track record of creating job and investment opportunities, he is a natural choice to lead our business development department. We have made record-breaking economic progress in our state, and we have full confidence that Erran will help us build that momentum.”
Persley assumes the role immediately. As commissioner of business development, he will be responsible for oversight of all domestic and international business, including new and expansion projects and job retention efforts. He brings to the position nearly 30 years of experience. He most recently served at the US Department of Commerce/SelectUSA, where he was responsible for analysis and strategies related to challenges and barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US.
“I am so grateful to Gov. Bevin and our Cabinet’s leadership for presenting me with this opportunity,” Persley said. “Alongside Gov. Bevin, the Cabinet has made tremendous strides in creating an unparalleled business climate to support new investment from private industry. I look forward to working with the extremely talented individuals we have here and across the state to continue developing innovative initiatives that will bring more businesses to the commonwealth and, in turn, create more opportunities for Kentuckians.”
Persley’s career began in 1990 as an intern at the Commerce Department’s Office of International Major Projects under the George H. Bush Sr. administration. In 1994, he served under Secretary Ronald H. Brown as the international trade specialist in charge of the Japanese Official Development Assistance program. Persley’s private-sector experience includes work overseas as an outreach and communications manager for a trade and development project in sub-Saharan Africa for Chemonics International Inc. He was later named the company’s senior vice president for the Africa region, overseeing 26 government-funded projects in 19 countries. He also spent time as the executive administrator to the corporation’s chief financial officer and board of directors.
“Since he joined the Cabinet last year, Erran has been nothing short of exceptional,” said Terry Gill, secretary for the Cabinet. “Kentucky is getting more interest from companies globally than in any time in recent history, and Erran has played an instrumental role in making that happen. As commissioner, he will assume the important task of overseeing initiatives that will spur new investment, as well as job creation and retention. We are very fortunate to have someone so capable to fill this position, and I am thrilled to see him take this next step during such a momentous time in the commonwealth.”
“Erran’s impact on Kentucky’s expanding international reach cannot be understated,” added Vivek Sarin, executive officer & co-CEO at the Cabinet. “Through his excellent work with the Cabinet, Erran has made clear that he is the best person to oversee our business development efforts going forward. His success tapping into new markets around the world demonstrates his strong leadership qualities and ability to bring new opportunities to fruition. He will help us continue our record-breaking investment and job creation of the past three years and will energize our team moving forward.”
Persley is a native Kentuckian, born and raised in Lexington where he attended Lafayette High School. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the ESADE School of Business in Barcelona, Spain, where he earned dual MBA degrees. He completed his undergraduate studies at Howard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has studied internationally in Argentina, Brazil, India, Russia and Spain, and has worked in nearly a dozen different African countries.