An executive once responsible for filling Times Square’s billboards with advertisements has been hired to run the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, effective March 7, it was announced Thursday night.
Harry Coghlan, who oversaw New York-area operations for Clear Channel Outdoor advertising, will become IDA chief executive officer. He succeeds Joseph J. Kearney, who stepped down on Jan. 3 after more than eight years to join the county’s Board of Elections as deputy Republican commissioner.
A resolution appointing Coghlan was unanimously approved by the IDA board. He will be paid $195,000 per year, $4,000 more than Kearney.
Coghlan spent 15 years at Clear Channel Outdoor, one of the biggest companies of its kind, and helped to launch the world’s largest billboard and the largest digital sign in Times Square.
Previously, Coghlan held finance and tax accounting positions at the Estee Lauder Cos.’ MAC division, Avon Products and Consolidated Edison. He earned an accounting degree from Wagner College and a master’s in business administration from St. John’s University.
"I'm very proud to be here...I'm a former Times Square signs guy," Coghlan, a Merrick resident, told the IDA board. "I look forward to creating meaningful opportunities and incentives to draw companies to this county, attract new investments, and ensure long-term benefits to our communities.”
IDAs are authorized by the state to grant tax breaks to expanding businesses and housing projects.
IDA board chairman Richard Kessel said Thursday that the CEO search was "undertaken for a number of months, and I have talked to and interviewed a number of people." Coghlan’s ad experience will be invaluable “to market our great county to corporations and ultimately bring jobs to Nassau,” Kessel said.
County Executive Laura Curran stopped by Thursday's IDA meeting to welcome Coghlan, saying “the time is right for a private-sector leader with a fresh perspective.”
Also Thursday, the IDA named deputy executive director Danielle Oglesby to the newly created position of chief operating officer.
Officials said agency staff titles are changing “to make the IDA more like a business.”