Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a Florida banking executive to oversee the state's top economic development agency.
Hunting Deutsch, the vice president of Wealth Management at BankUnited, will lead the Department of Economic Opportunity, starting Monday.
He replaces Doug Darling, who left the agency abruptly in January.
Deutsch has spent more than 30 years in the banking industry, mostly in Florida and Alabama. 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.
This will be his first position in government, as an agency head.
“Hunting has a strong and experienced background and I am confident he will do a great job as the head of DEO," Scott said in a statement. "I welcome Hunting to our team.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity is responsible for boosting jobs and economic development in the state. It has come under scrutiny recently for some incentives given to businesses who have not created the expected number of jobs.
“Like Governor Scott, I understand that turning our unemployment system into a reemployment system is critical to developing the most skilled workforce in the nation and I am committed to helping those who want a job, find successful employment opportunities,” Deutsch said in a statement.
Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz said in January that he would advise Scott to hire someone from the private sector for the role.
The ideal candidate, Gaetz said at the time, is “an individual who knows how businesses operate and can talk peer-to-peer with business leaders about what’s necessary for the state to do for businesses to keep jobs, expand jobs and bring new jobs to the state of Florida.”
Here's the release from the governor's office:
Governor Scott Taps Hunting Deutsch as Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott Named Hunting Deutsch to serve as the executive director of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. Deutsch will assume this role on April 16, 2012.
“I am committed to making Florida the number one state in the nation for job creation, and fostering a climate that promotes economic development is key,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Hunting has a strong and experienced background and I am confident he will do a great job as the head of DEO. I welcome Hunting to our team.”
Deutsch has more than thirty years of senior-level experience in the banking industry. He most recently served as executive vice president of wealth management at BankUnited Financial Corporation and President of BankUnited Financial Services from 2006 to 2009. Previously, he was the executive vice president of AmSouth Bank in Birmingham, Alabama from 2003 to 2006 and managing director at Citigroup Private Bank in Miami from 2001 to 2002. Deutsch also spent 20 years at Suntrust Banks, Inc. in Orlando, serving in various management positions including president and chief executive officer of private client and retirement services and president and chief executive officer of trust and investment services.
“DEO has streamlined Florida’s economic and community development functions and plays an important role in strengthening Florida’s workforce,” said Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope. “I am thrilled Hunting will be leading DEO and I know he will create a strong work environment that will ensure the agency continues to create opportunities for all Floridians to prosper.”
Deutsch has been a member of the University of Miami President’s Council and the Board of Governors of the Dade Community Foundation. He served on the University of Miami board of trustees from 2001 to 2005 and was president of the University of Miami Alumni Association from 2002 to 2003. He is also the former chairman of the Trust Management Association. Deutsch received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami.
“I am honored Governor Scott chose me to lead DEO and I look forward to supporting Governor Scott and Gray Swoope’s role in attracting new and expanding businesses to the Sunshine State,” said Deutsch. “Like Governor Scott, I understand that turning our unemployment system into a reemployment system is critical to developing the most skilled workforce in the nation and I am committed to helping those who want a job, find successful employment opportunities.”