The new economic development leader | Arkansas Blog

The new economic development leader


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In a room packed with familiar faces from the Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker eras -- including Tucker himself -- Gov. Mike Beebe introduced Maria Haley today as the new director of economic development. Outgoing head Larry Walther was on hand and Beebe spoke warmly of him. He'll continue to have a role at DED, at least for a time.

Haley was asked about her involvement in Whitewater-era investigation of financial contributions to Bill Clinton from Asian businessmen. The room erupted in applause after she said the Senate Banking Committee had reviewed thousands of documents and found nothing improper.

Warwick will be back with some film after a while. He'll be swinging by the lottery discussion as well.

News release on the jump.



Governor Mike Beebe today named Maria Haley as the new director for the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.

“Maria Haley will open doors around the world for Arkansas,” Beebe said.  “With economic development so vital to our State’s future, Maria’s unique and global experience will help create the opportunities our state needs to attract new business to Arkansas.”

Haley, 66, has worked in international business development since 1979 and speaks four languages.  She began with a 13-year tenure at the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, during which time the number of Arkansas export businesses doubled and foreign investments tripled in Arkansas.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Haley as a member of the board of the Export Import Bank of the United States.  Mandated by Congress as the advocate for small businesses, Haley was confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate, served five years and led the Bank’s Africa programs initiative.

Since 2001, Haley has been Senior Director for Kissinger McLarty Associates, specializing in Asia-related projects.  She also served as an advisor and consultant to the Philippine Government of President Gloria Arroyo.


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