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Movers and Shakers: Hughes leaves RPOF, Scott hires new top jobs guy

Hughes resigns from RPOF to focus on own firm

Brian Hughes resigned from his post with Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Republicans to oversee his own strategic communications firm, Meteoric Media Strategies.

Hughes was deputy executive director for the Republican Party of Florida.

Previously, he has served as deputy communications director for the Executive Office of the Governor and for RPOF. During the 2010 legislative session, Hughes was communications director for the Florida Senate Majority Office under Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

“Now it’s time to get back to building my own business while helping Republicans the best way I know how, in the trenches during the hard-fought battles of an election year,” said Hughes in a statement.

Hughes started Meteoric Media in 2009 working with candidate campaigns and issue advocacy. His clients include CFO Jeff Atwater, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Hughes will continue to advise RPOF until the agency finds a replacement.

Scott hires new top jobs guy

Banking executive Hunting Deutsch, the vice president of Wealth Management at BankUnited, will lead the Department of Economic Opportunity.

He replaces Doug Darling, who left the agency abruptly in January.

Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz said in January that he would advise Scott to hire someone from the private sector for the role.

This will be Deutsch's first position in government after more than 30 years in the banking industry.

Before working with private equity at BankUnited, Deutsch held high-level positions at AmSouth Bank in Birmingham, Citigroup Private Bank in Miami and SunTrust Bank in Orlando. He earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Miami and studied economics at the University of New Hampshire. 

Miami-Dade GOP elects new party chairman

The Miami-Dade GOP elected a new party chairman Thursday. Ben Powell ran unopposed and will replace Rep. Erik Freson, R-Miami, who resigned last month.

In a press release, Powell said his major themes are accountability and openness.

Florida Department of Education changes school grade guru

Kris Ellington, the point person on recent school grade policy changes, left the Florida Department of Education.

The recently-injured Ellington plans to take some time off and then return to the private sector.

Jane Fletcher, director of accountability and policy research, will take over Ellington’s deputy commissioner post on an interim basis.

Movers and Shakers is a weekly roundup of personnel changes. Send tips to Brittany Alana Davis at or via twitter @Britt_alana.