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Cuomo: Gertler to succeed Zemsky as Empire State Development CEO

Eric Gertler, seen here on June 26, is

Eric Gertler, seen here on June 26, is the new Empire State Development CEO.  Credit: Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/Kevin P. Coughlin

Manhattan financier Eric J. Gertler will become Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s economic development czar, effective Sept. 3, the governor announced Monday.

Gertler, who runs the investment firm Ulysses Ventures, succeeds Howard Zemsky as CEO of Empire State Development.

Zemsky, a commercial real estate developer who grew up in Woodbury, will remain chairman of the ESD board, Cuomo said.

Gertler, 56, comes to the post after serving for more than a year on the ESD board. Neither Zemsky nor his predecessor, Kenneth Adams, served on the agency’s board before taking its top job.

Gertler's appointment is subject to state Senate approval.

He “is an innovative leader who spent decades at the intersection of business, media and government — making him uniquely suited to run our chief economic development and tourism agency," Cuomo said.

Gertler also is executive chairman of U.S. News & World Report, which is owned by his uncle Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the real estate magnate. Zuckerman also once owned the New York Daily News, where Gertler was co-publisher in 2015-17.

"I have boundless faith in the economic potential of New York State," Gertler said Monday. "I look forward to supporting Governor Cuomo in further strengthening our dynamic economy for this and future generations."

Gertler served as executive vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corp. and managing director of its Center for Economic Transformation under Mayor Bill de Basio and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.

Gertler, who was born in Canada, is also an attorney and the author of several books on privacy. 

An ESD spokesman couldn't immediately provide information about Gertler's new salary with the agency on Monday. Board members are not paid.

His predecessor as CEO, Zemsky, earned $1 per year.

Zemsky, who moved from Long Island to Buffalo after college, said, Gertler's "experience, insight and understanding of both New York and the business community will be of enormous benefit to his work at ESD."

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