By The Associated Press/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Leland Speed, Gov. Haley Barbour’s first economic development agency director, will return to run the Mississippi Development Authority.
Barbour announced Wednesday that Speed had agreed to return to MDA on Monday as its executive director for the remainder of Barbour’s term, which ends in January.
Speed replaces Gray Swoope, who is leaving this week to run Florida’s economic development agency.
Swoope became director of MDA in January 2007, after Speed left the agency. Swoope had been second in command at the agency since 2004, when Barbour became governor.
Speed is chairman of EastGroup Properties, a real estate investment trust in Jackson. He also is chairman of Parkway Property, a REIT specializing in the ownership and operation of office buildings in the Sun Belt and Chicago.
“The return of Leland Speed to lead MDA will ensure a seamless transition and strong leadership for an agency with such an important task in these difficult economic times: Creating Mississippi jobs,” Barbour said. “Leland is an exceptional business leader who knows the needs of the private sector.”
The MDA was established as the comprehensive statewide economic development organization. It serves as the centerpiece of development efforts and is tasked with creating jobs and the enhancement of business.