Kristin Murphy, Deseret News Archives
Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, talks at the Governor's Utah Economic Summit at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 3, 2014.

SALT LAKE CITY — After nearly five years of leading the state's economic development efforts, Spencer P. Eccles, the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, is leaving state government to return to the private sector.

Appointed in September 2009, Eccles played a key role in driving Utah's post-recession economic recovery.

He helped solidify the state's No. 1 ranking for three consecutive years on Forbes' list of the "Best States for Business and Careers," said Marty Carpenter, communications director for Gov. Gary Herbert's office.

During Eccles' tenure, Utah’s unemployment rate decreased from more than 8 percent to 3.8 percent; the job growth rate increased to 2.9 percent; and the state achieved the governor’s goal to accelerate the creation of 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days, Carpenter said.

In that time, GOED has also facilitated the expansion or relocation of strategic anchor companies in Utah's urban and rural counties. Those companies are projected to create more than 32,500 jobs and $2.1 billion in new state revenue in the coming years, Carpenter added.

"Five years ago when I took office, I asked Spencer to lead my economic development team because of his business background and family’s generational commitment to Utah,” Herbert said. “He has succeeded in every aspect of the post, fostering the economic growth and development that is the 'rising tide that lifts all boats.'"

Prior to his tenure at GOED, Eccles worked for Wells Capital Management in Salt Lake City and was involved with various American and international technology companies, as well as managing three ranch operations in Idaho and Wyoming, and the Goldener Hirsch Inn in Deer Valley.

Eccles is departing state government to form a private investment company, The Cynosure Group, along with former U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Randal Quarles and Herbert “Bud” Scruggs, a former senior executive at Leucadia National Corp.

Eccles will assist in the transition at GOED as his successor is identified over the coming weeks. Herbert has also asked Eccles to continue as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Team.

"I've been fortunate to work with what I believe is the greatest economic development team in the country, who have at every turn placed the good of their fellow Utahns above themselves,” Eccles said. “Our work at GOED has been about benefitting the people of Utah, improving their quality of life and helping to provide them with opportunities to succeed."

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