Politics

Alaska economic development agency executive director resigns

The executive director of Alaska’s state-owned investment corporation announced his resignation Wednesday.

Alan Weitzner headed the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA, for just over two years. He was paid $250,000 per year, according to an executive branch staff salary list from August.

“I am very proud of our staff and their dedication to AIDEA’s mission for Alaskans despite the limitations in place,” Weitzner said in his resignation letter.

Morgan Neff, the agency’s chief investment officer, will step in as interim CEO in early December when Weitzner leaves. Neff joined the agency in February last year after moving to Alaska from Texas.

Neff was one of three finalists in October for the executive director position at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. The board of trustees instead picked Deven Mitchell, the then-acting Revenue commissioner.

The seven-member AIDEA board has authorized the agency’s human resources staff to conduct a search for a permanent CEO. There is no timeline when that will be completed.

Weitzner said in his resignation letter that he would be returning to the private sector to work on developing large-scale renewable energy and liquefied natural gas projects. Weitzner did not respond to requests for comment by the Daily News about his plans or why he resigned.

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In September, a conservation group, Salmon State, released an unflattering study of the agency, describing a history of failed projects and low earnings.

Weitzner disputed SalmonState’s findings and he ordered an independent review of the agency’s economic performance and its investments.

Last week, interested parties were asked to submit proposals to conduct that review, which would be capped at $250,000. A final report is expected to be ready in mid-to-late 2023.

SalmonState is campaigning against the agency’s proposed 100-mile West Susitna Access road between Point MacKenzie and the Yentna Mining District, amid concerns over wildlife and hunting and fishing.

Weitzner’s resignation was first reported by Alaska Landmine.

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Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire is a politics and general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Juneau. He previously reported from Juneau for Alaska's News Source. Contact him at smaguire@adn.com.

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