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SALT LAKE CITY - Well-known Utah businessman and philanthropist Spencer P. Eccles has accepted Governor Gary R. Herbert's invitation to serve as Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Mr. Eccles will be joined by Josh Romney, who will serve as the state's National Business Recruitment Policy Advisor. Both men are strong advocates for Utah as the best place to live, visit and do business.

"This truly is an economic development dream team," Governor Herbert said at a Thursday news conference. "These two men know Utah and they know business. They are going to be critical to our top priority of providing our citizens with employment opportunities and, in turn, bringing greater economic stability to the state."

Mr. Eccles has strong ties to Utah's urban and rural communities, as well as international markets. He received his MBA from BYU's Marriott School of Management, a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Utah, and was formerly affiliated with the Salt Lake City office of Wells Capital Management (Wells Fargo Bank). He has most recently been involved with entrepreneurial technology companies in the United States and abroad.

"During this challenging economic period, I look forward to positioning Utah's great business environment to further strengthen our existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and investment and continue to attract national and international business to Utah," Mr. Eccles said.

In addition to his venture capital projects, Mr. Eccles' business interests include managing three ranching operations in Idaho and Wyoming and the Goldener Hirsch Inn in Deer Valley. In 1997, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee tapped Mr. Eccles to manage the development of the Snow Basin venue and oversaw the events held there during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He has also served on a number of community boards, including advisory boards of the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business and Tanner Humanities Center's World Leaders Lecture Forum, the Ogden Pioneer Heritage Foundation, the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the Salt Lake Chamber's Board of Governors, Executive Committee and as Chair of its International Committee. Additionally, he serves as the President of the First Security Foundation and advises The George S. and Dolores Dor'e Eccles Foundation.

Mr. Romney is the founder of Romney Ventures, which was created in 2007 to pursue real estate acquisitions throughout the Intermountain West. He is also a former manager of the Salt Lake City-based Gardner Company, a former worldwide manager at the Interpublic Sports & Entertainment Group in New York City and analyst at Intercontinental Real Estate in Boston.

"Utah has been identified as one of the states most likely to rebound first from the recession. I am excited for the opportunity to work with the Governor and GOED to help make that happen," Mr. Romney said.

The Harvard Business School graduate currently serves on the advisory board for the Deseret International Foundation, which partners with local doctors in an effort to establish permanent and sustainable healthcare in developing countries.

On Thursday, the Governor also expressed his appreciation to Derek Miller, GOED's managing director for corporate recruitment and incentives, who has also served as the office's acting executive director for the past several months.

"Derek will continue to be an important part of our GOED team," Governor Herbert said. "His expertise will be key in moving this effort forward."

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