Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Monday nominated business and community leader Marcel Valois to serve as executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., subject to state Senate approval.
Valois, who held the same title under Gov. Lincoln Almond in the late 1990s, succeeds William Parsons, who held the position on an interim basis after Keith Stokes resigned last summer after the 38 Studios fiasco.
The controversy triggered several resignations from the EDC board.
Rhode Island taxpayers are on the hook after 38 Studios, a video-game company owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. The EDC had provided the company a $75 million loan guarantee in 2010, backed by the state's moral obligation, as an incentive for Schilling to move the company to downtown Providence from Maynard, Mass.
"Marcel Valois is a proven business leader. He understands economic development, he understands Rhode Island, and he shares my commitment to taking advantage of Rhode Island's assets to strengthen our economy," Chafee said in a statement.
Valois most recently was vice president of the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island Inc. He previously was chief operating officer and area vice president of Penske Automotive Group, where he oversaw total operations of the Inskip dealer group with more than 500 employees and more than $400 million in annual sales.
Shortly after 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy in Wilmington, Del., a federal judge moved the case to Rhode Island Superior Court.
In a recent filing, EDC attorney Max Wistow filed documents on behalf of the state claiming that 38 Studios needed more than $75 million in loan guarantees before the company moved.
Wistow, a name partner in Providence firm Wistow, Barilyck, Sheehan & Loveley PC, argued that "crushing evidence" showed 38 Studios concealed its shaky finances.