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Governor Whitmer Announces New Leadership Positions in State Government


March 4, 2020



Governor Whitmer Announces New Leadership Positions in State Government 

Chief Strategist Mark Burton Recommended to Serve as CEO of MEDC; DTMB Director Tricia L. Foster to Serve as New Executive Office COO; Brom Stibitz Appointed Chief Information Officer 


LANSING – Today Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced new leadership changes in key positions across state government, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Executive Office of the Governor, and the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. 


Governor Whitmer recommended her Chief Strategist Mark A. Burton to serve as CEO of MEDC, following the retirement of Jeff Mason. Mason has served as CEO since 2017, and will assist with the transition. At a meeting today in Detroit, the MEDC Corporation Board announced a nationwide search to select a permanent CEO to helm Michigan’s lead agency for business, jobs, tourism, and more. The search will be conducted over the next few months. 


Tricia L. Foster, who currently serves as Director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, will serve in a new position as Chief Operating Officer starting April 1, 2020, where she will manage cabinet affairs and administrative functions within the executive office.  


“Tricia and Mark have done tremendous work during the first year of my administration, and they're ready to step up into these new roles and keep working to build a stronger Michigan for everyone,” said Governor Whitmer. 


Governor’s Chief Strategist Mark A. Burton Recommended to Lead MEDC 


“Mark Burton was instrumental in helping us deliver nearly 11,000 new auto jobs last year,” said Whitmer. “I have every confidence he will be a strong and steady hand to lead MEDC through a smooth transition. I am grateful to Jeff Mason for his leadership across multiple administrations, and appreciate his service to the people of Michigan to build a vibrant and growing economy.” 


Mark A. Burton has been involved in state government and Michigan politics for nearly two decades. He has served as Chief Strategist for Whitmer since her inauguration in January of 2019. Burton previously worked as Executive Director of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education, which represents school districts in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, and was Whitmer’s Chief of Staff during her time as Senate Democratic Leader. He received his Bachelor of Science from Northern Michigan University, his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law, and is a graduate of Oxford University’s Joint Programme in International Human Rights Law. 


“I’m honored to serve in this leadership role during what should be a very smooth transition period,” said Mark Burton. “I appreciate Jeff's leadership, and I'm excited to work with the dedicated team at MEDC and build on the progress we’ve made in the past year in the automotive and mobility sectors. Let’s get started.” 


“Mark has been a crucial partner in helping expand opportunities for hardworking Michiganders this past year, and I’m excited for him to join our team,” said Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. ”I’m grateful to Jeff Mason for his years of leadership at the helm of the MEDC, and for his work in helping grow our economy. Now, we’re focused on ensuring a smooth transition period as we begin the search for a permanent CEO.” 


“We at MEDC appreciate Jeff’s strong leadership and integrity as CEO,” said Awenate Cobbina, Chair of the MEDC Executive Committee. “The work he has done on behalf of Michigan families and businesses will continue to be felt after his departure. We appreciate the governor’s strong recommendation of Mark Burton, who encapsulates all of the qualities we look for in a CEO.” 


DTMB Director Tricia L. Foster to Assume Newly-Created Position of Chief Operating Officer 


“Tricia’s background as a respected business leader has made her a strong and effective leader at DTMB,” said Whitmer. “Her work over the past year makes her the right person to manage cabinet affairs and administrative functions within the executive branch, where she will continue working to make state government more efficient and accountable to taxpayers.” 


Tricia L. Foster was named director of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget by Governor Whitmer in January of 2019. In this role, Foster directed a staff of nearly 3,000 employees who provide business, information technology, procurement, retirement, financial and other administrative services for state government and oversees the department’s $1.3 billion budget. Foster retired in 2016 as Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of CBRE/Martin and CBRE/Grand Rapids, a commercial and real estate development firm where she served for 23 years. Foster graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Michigan State University. 


“After spending the bulk of my career in the private sector and the past year leading DTMB, I’m ready to bring a fresh perspective to the table so we can make state government work even better for the people of Michigan,” said Foster. “I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for putting her trust in me, and I am ready to take what I have learned and apply it state wide.” 


Governor Appoints Brom Stibitz Chief Information Officer 


Also today, Governor Whitmer appointed Brom Stibitz to serve as the state’s Chief Information Officer, working within DTMB. In this new role, Stibitz will manage all aspects of cybersecurity and information technology across state government. 


Stibitz has served as the Chief Deputy Director of DTMB since 2015, where he is head of operations for the agency of nearly 3,000 employees, providing information technology and business and administrative services to Michigan’s residents, state agencies, and state employees.  During his tenure at DTMB, Stibitz was instrumental in improving IT Governance, enhancing the state’s approach to IT security, and at the same time increasing overall customer satisfaction scores for DTMB. 


Prior to his role at DTMB, Stibitz served in leadership roles at the Michigan Department of Treasury and the Michigan Legislature.