Business Leaders For Michigan CEO Doug Rothwell Retiring

Doug Rothwell has carved out a long career in the business world and been influential in political circles for a long time.

Apparently, it’s been long enough. Rothwell, the president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan and the former head of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, will retire effective Dec. 31.

BLM officials announced Rothwell’s retirement Thursday. Rothwell has led BLM and its predecessor organization, Detroit Renaissance) for 15 years. The Philadelphia native has worked for four governors in two states and for two Fortune 500 companies.

In the public sector, Doug was Delaware’s chief of staff and chief executive of Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation, in addition to chairing both incoming and outgoing gubernatorial transition teams. In the business world, he managed General Motors’ 400 million square foot global real estate portfolio and was the CAO at Bank of America’s credit card subsidiary and part of the IPO team.

In the nonprofit sphere, Doug successfully transitioned Detroit Renaissance from a Detroit-centric organization to a statewide one, bringing all regions and industries to one common table to solve Michigan’s toughest challenges. He is also credited with successfully pairing business, education and philanthropy to create a sustained effort aimed at improving Michigan’s K-12 education system: Launch Michigan.

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“When Sharon and I were recruited to Michigan 27 years ago by Gov. John Engler, we came because of the people and the beauty of the state,” said Rothwell.  “We will always be grateful for the opportunities this great state has provided us – not only professionally but also through many treasured friendships.”

Rothwell graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Master of Public Administration degree, the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts degree and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He’s a former Presidential Management Fellow and has received the most prestigious honors awarded by the National Governors Association and the University of Delaware for his public service.

Rothwell and his wife, Sharon, will relocate to Chapel Hill, N.C., upon his retirement.

“Doug has been one of the state’s most influential leaders for over a quarter century,” said Gerry Anderson, Executive Chairman of DTE Energy and BLM Board Chair. “He’s respected by leaders in business, government and community service across the state and founded two highly consequential organizations (the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Business Leaders for Michigan). He was always about putting Michigan first rather than a particular region, interest or party. He leaves a big imprint on many programs, policies and places in our state that have helped grow the economy.”

A national search will be conducted to fill the position, with a successor expected to be announced in November of 2020.