Commissioner Bob Rolfe announced his departure Tuesday from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) in order to enter the private sector, according to a press release by the department.
“It has been an enormous privilege to serve Governor Bill Lee and former Governor Bill Haslam to lead this department over the last five and a half years,” Rolfe said in a statement. “I am also most grateful to the 100 colleagues at ECD that I have had the honor of working closely with on a daily basis. For this opportunity to serve Governor Lee, the General Assembly and the citizens of Tennessee, I am humbled.”
Five years ago, we welcomed Commissioner Rolfe to TNECD, and we cannot thank him enough for his steadfast leadership and service to this state.
— TNECD (@TNECD) June 7, 2022
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a statement following Rolfe’s announcement, saying, “Bobby has played an invaluable role in my cabinet by recruiting new businesses and industry to our state, supporting existing companies and expanding economic opportunity across Tennessee, particularly in our rural communities. I commend his service to Tennesseans and wish him much success as he enters the private sector.”
As a result of Rolfe’s departure, Lee announced he is appointing Stuart McWhorter to be the new TNECD Commissioner, effective July 11th. McWhorter served in the Lee administration as the commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration (F&A) before departing for the private sector in 2020, according to the TNECD press release.
“Stuart has been a tremendous asset to the administration, and his knowledge of both the private and public sectors will ensure Tennessee continues to lead the nation as the best place to do business,” Lee said in a statement. “I appreciate his service and am confident Tennesseans and our economy will thrive under his leadership.”
Rolfe served as TNECD Commissioner since March 2017, when he was appointed by former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. During his tenure, the department has landed roughly 660 projects, which represent more than 112,000 job commitments and $33 billion in capital investment.
Under Rolfe’s leadership, as noted by TNECD, Tennessee has secured several record-breaking wins. For example, in 2021, Rolfe led TNECD’s recruitment efforts to land Tennessee’s fourth automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) when Ford Motor Company selected Tennessee to build one of the largest battery and vehicle manufacturing campuses in the country. Ford and SK Innovation’s $5.6 billion investment represents the largest single capital investment in state history.
Additionally, under Rolfe’s leadership in 2021, Oracle, the world’s largest data management company, announced it will locate new tech operations in Nashville. At 8,500 jobs, the Oracle project is the single biggest jobs announcement in Tennessee’s history.
– – –
Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Bob Rolfe” by TNECD.