DEGC President and CEO George Jackson to Resign, Start New Firm

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George W. Jackson Jr. plans to step down from his role as president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and form a Detroit-based private consulting and development firm. His resignation is effective March 31, says Rod Gillum, chairman of the DEGC’s Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased to know that (Jackson) intends to continue accelerating economic development in Detroit, but in a new and different role,” Gillum says. “With Jackson at the helm, DEGC has had a remarkable track record of success — even through incredibly challenging times. I have no doubt he will continue his success, and the city of Detroit will see the benefits of that as well.”

Jackson will continue to serve as a member of DEGC’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee after March 31. He says he will continue to support the revitalization of Detroit, but in a new role.

“I had a tremendous run at DEGC working with great companies here and from around the world, and solid partners in the private and foundation communities,” Jackson says. “Now it’s time to return to my roots in the private sector, which I have been thinking about for at least five years, and further accelerate the development in Detroit. I look forward to working with great partners as we continue to transform Detroit into a leader of innovative urban redevelopment.”

Under Jackson’s leadership, which began in 2002, the DEGC led the transformation of the Detroit Riverfront from industrial to mixed use; oversaw the $190 million restoration and reopening of the Book Cadillac as the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel; and took part in a deal that kept General Motors’ world headquarters in Detroit.

Other achievements during the past 12 years include:

  • Innovative programs and incentives that relocated Quicken Loans to Detroit, consolidated operations of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and led to the re-concentration of technology and creative companies in downtown and Midtown, bringing in well over 10,000 new employees
  • A lead role in transformational residential development projects in downtown and Midtown.
  • Negotiations that created the Detroit Regional Convention Center Authority and facilitated a $279 million renovation of Cobo Center
  • Negotiating a $650 million private-public partnership deal to develop a world-class entertainment and sports district in the heart of downtown, including a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings 
  • The largest retail development in more than 40 years, anchored by a Meijer superstore, at Eight Mile and Woodward
  • Innovative programs to support local retailers, especially grocery stores and other companies in the food industry
  • The opening of Whole Foods Market — the first national grocery chain to open in Detroit in decades
  • Maintaining and revitalizing manufacturing investments by General Motors, Chrysler, and other suppliers from around the world
  • Steering the development and beginning implementation of Detroit Future City, a comprehensive 50-year framework to help guide decision makers as they revitalize the city with innovative approaches

​“(Jackson’s) leadership over the years at DEGC has helped lay the groundwork for a very bright future for Detroit,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “I have enormous respect for the work he has done. I wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life.”

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