Stephen Moret, the head of LSU's major fundraising arm and a former key adviser to then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, is leaving Louisiana for Virginia.
Moret has been tapped to lead the embattled Virginia Economic Development Partnership after less than two years leading the private LSU Foundation.
He is expected to leave the LSU Foundation by the end of the year. The Foundation expects to name an interim CEO in December and will begin a nationwide search for a permanent replacement "as soon as possible."
“We are disappointed to lose Stephen, who has been a phenomenal leader, yet as is characteristic of his business acumen, he will leave the LSU Foundation with a detailed, multi-year plan that is well in progress," T. Cass Gaiennie, chairperson of the LSU Foundation Board of Directors, said in a statement. "This blueprint that Stephen developed in partnership with LSU, coupled with President (F. King) Alexander’s deep commitment to growing academic philanthropy, positions the university to dramatically increase alumni giving rates and academic philanthropy while preparing LSU to complete the largest capital campaign of any kind in state history."
Moret was named president and CEO of the LSU Foundation in 2015. Under him, the Foundation has been in the beginning stages of launching the university's first major fundraising campaign with a goal to raise upwards of $1.2 billion.
An LSU graduate and former student body president, Moret said the job in Virginia puts him closer to family. His mother lives in Richmond and his in-laws spend time there.
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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership has been under scrutiny recently over the way it spends taxpayer dollars to attract and retain major business prospects.
“Leading the LSU Foundation has been one of the greatest privileges of my career, uniting my passion for LSU with my professional interests. I’m particularly grateful to President Alexander for the unprecedented support he has provided for building a national-caliber fundraising operation at LSU; he has been an outstanding partner. LSU is Louisiana’s strongest economic asset, and the plan we have developed with President Alexander and the campus leadership team to achieve and sustain a transformational level of academic philanthropy is one that I believe will have a multi-generational impact on LSU," Moret said.
Moret previously served as secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, taking on that role leading the state's economic development efforts shortly after Jindal took office in 2008. Before that, he was president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
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His hiring in Virginia came after an eight-month national search led by a special committee. Former VEDP CEO Martin J. Briley reportedly made $306,995 in the job in 2014, the most recent figures available from the Times-Dispatch.
“It was apparent after an extensive search that Stephen is one of the nation’s best economic development executives,” said search committee chair Chris Lumsden said. “As the former leader of a successful regional economic development organization, Stephen also understands the important role played by local and regional officials to help bring jobs and investment to every corner of the Commonwealth, including the rural and underserved communities.”
Moret, since taking the helm of the LSU Foundation, has sought to bolster the university fundraising efforts and link up with the LSU Alumni Association and the Tiger Athletic Foundation, which primarily raises money for athletics.