Change in Leadership at the Department of CommerceNews Release
July 06, 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah -- Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. announced Wednesday, a leadership change at the Utah Department of Commerce. He has accepted the resignation of Executive Director Russell Skousen --- a former member of the Salt Lake County Council who joined Huntsman's campaign almost two years ago, and has led the Department of Commerce since Huntsman took office in January --- effective August 15, 2005. In a letter to the Governor, Skousen explained, "I have made the difficult decision to return to my private law practice and to pursue other interests." After accepting Skousen's resignation, Governor Huntsman said "I appreciate Russell's service over the last two years, but I understand his desire to move on, and wish him the best in his future endeavors." Governor Huntsman has announced that the vacancy left by Skousen's departure will be filled by Francine Giani, who has been director of the Division of Consumer Protection since March of 1992. She will continue in that role indefinitely while serving as Executive Director of the Department of Commerce. "The Department of Commerce performs many functions important to the state including enforcing a variety of laws that protect consumers," Governor Huntsman stated. "I am grateful that Ms. Giani is willing to step up and take responsibility for the department. She is a dedicated public servant and state government is better off thanks to her integrity and expertise. I have asked Jason Perry to stay on as the Department's Deputy Director. He brings great experience to his position and will assist Francine in moving the department forward." Giani brings extensive leadership skills to the position having served as the Press Secretary and Policy Adviser to Governor Norman H. Bangerter from 1983 through 1992. In addition, she served on the Centerville City Council from 1992-2000. Giani has a Masters degree in Public Administration from Brigham Young University and a bachelor's degree in Communications from Hunter College in New York City. Giani and her husband, Rick Luczak, are the proud parents of twin daughters.