MassDevelopment CEO Liss to step down

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Lauren Liss will resign as president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency at the end of the year, the organization announced.

State housing and economic development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who chairs MassDevelopment’s board of directors, will lead the search for the next head of the commonwealth’s finance and development agency.

During fiscal 2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating more than $2.69 billion for the commonwealth, according to the agency. These projects built or preserved 1,787 housing units.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure," said MassDevelopment chief executive Lauren Liss.

“Lauren has been an incredible partner and leader as she has put MassDevelopment’s many programs and resources to work creating jobs for our residents, increasing investment in our communities, and spurring economic growth statewide,” Kennealy said.

Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Liss and the MassDevelopment board approved her in 2017, where she first worked with Kennealy and under former board Chairman Jay Ash. Previously, Liss held leadership positions in the private and public sectors, including commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a partner in a Boston law firm.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure,” she said in a statement.

Liss expanded MassDevlopment’s work in Gateway Cities through an array of finance programs and real estate services such as the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) and Commonwealth Places program. She also oversaw Devens, the agency’s mixed-use redevelopment of the former Fort Devens.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, MassDevelopment pivoted programs and tools to support small businesses in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities.

Last week, Baker’s administration announced a $774 million plan to stabilize and build the Massachusetts economy. The plan, according to Baker, focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability.

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