Donofrio Moves from LEO to Business Leaders for Michigan

Following an exhaustive national search, the Business Leaders for Michigan realized that the best man to replace their retiring CEO was just down the road a bit.

Business Leaders for Michigan today announced the hiring of Jeff Donofrio to succeed Doug Rothwell in leading the organization, which aims to make Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal incomes and a healthy economy by championing specific public policy initiatives.

Donofrio was selected following that nationwide search, due in part to his extensive policy experience at the federal, state and local levels. He comes to Business Leaders for Michigan after having served as Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), in charge of coordinating and streamlining the state’s workforce and economic development programs to meet business and labor needs and grow communities where all Michiganders have equal opportunities to reach their fullest potential. Prior to LEO, Donofrio served as the Executive Director of Workforce Development for the City of Detroit and as an executive at Ford Motor Company.

Gerry Anderson, Business Leaders for Michigan Board Chair and Executive Chairman of DTE, says, “Jeff is well-known for being a strategic thinker and a problem solver,” and adds, “We know what our challenges are as a state, and we hired a new leader who can advance toward solving them. Those who have worked with Jeff know that he has the passion, the forward-looking leadership and the capabilities to make a transformational impact.”

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For his part, Donofrio say, “I’m excited to continue working on behalf of Michigan to increase career opportunities and income for residents, make the state more competitive in attracting talent and improve our economic standing. I look forward to using my career experience to help build on the tremendous work Doug Rothwell and Business Leaders for Michigan have been doing for the past 10 years. Skilled workforce training, K-12 education and working to reduce racial inequities will be chief among my initial priorities in leading the organization.”

During his tenure at LEO, Donofrio successfully implemented numerous workforce development programs designed to train Michigan residents as skilled workers for in-demand jobs, including Sixty by 30, Michigan’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 49-percent today to 60-percent by the year 2030.

Donofrio’s hiring is effective November 30th, and he will spend a month in transition with Rothwell before Rothwell departs at year-end.

Anderson adds, “We’re looking forward to having Jeff on board and moving Michigan to Top Ten status in the coming years, and our Board wishes to express publicly our immense gratitude to Doug for starting up this organization and leading us in work that yielded tremendous progress over the past 10 years.”

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. Its members drive nearly 40-percent of the state’s economy, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and educate nearly half of all Michigan public university students. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market shows Donofrio addressing the combined annual meeting of the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber and Cornerstone Alliance at Lake Michigan College.