Business Leaders for Michigan Hires Jeff Donofrio as President, CEO

Jeff Donofrio
Jeff Donofrio // Photo courtesy of Business Leaders for Michigan

After a national search, Jeff Donofrio has been hired to replace Doug Rothwell as president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, based in Detroit. Beginning Nov. 30, Donofrio will spend a month in transition with Rothwell before Rothwell departs at the end of the year.

Donofrio has extensive policy experience at the federal, local, and state levels. Previously serving as director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), he was in charge of both coordinating and streamlining the state’s economic and workforce development programs. He was also expected to meet all business and labor needs, as well as grow Michigan communities to create equal employment opportunities.

“Jeff is well-known for being a strategic thinker and a problem solver,” says Gerry Anderson, board chair of Business Leaders for Michigan and executive chairman of DTE. “We know what our challenges are as a state, and we hired a new leader who can advance toward solving them. Those who have worked with Jeff know that he has the passion, the forward-looking leadership, and the capabilities to make a transformational impact. We’re looking forward to having Jeff on board and moving Michigan to Top Ten status in the next coming years.”

Donofrio also implemented several successful workforce development programs while at LEO. These programs are designed to train Michigan residents as skilled workers for in-demand jobs and increase the number of working adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60 percent in the next 10 years.

“I’m excited to continue working on behalf of Michigan to increase career opportunities and income for residents, make the state more competitive in attracting talent, and improve our economic standing,” says Donofrio. “I look forward to using my career experience to help build on the tremendous work Doug Rothwell and Business Leaders for Michigan have been doing for the past 10 years. Skilled workforce training, K-12 education, and working to reduce racial inequities will be chief among my initial priorities in leading the organization.”

Prior to his hiring at Business Leaders for Michigan and his director position at LEO, Donofrio served as the executive director of workforce development for the city of Detroit and as an executive at Ford Motor Co.

Business Leaders for Michigan, located in Detroit, is an organization dedicated to making Michigan a Top Ten state for jobs, personal income, and a healthy economy by championing specific public policy initiatives.