Detroit economic development chief Tom Lewand to retire

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tom Lewand, the city’s economic development chief for six years, plans to retire at the end of the year, city officials said Friday.

Lewand, 73, was named as group executive for jobs and the economy in January 2014. Since that time the city said he has been a chief negotiator on deals bringing more than 15,000 new jobs to the city and billions of dollars in investment.

Tom Lewand

Those projects include Fiat Chrysler’s new Mack Avenue Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Co.’s Corktown mobility campus and Flex-N-Gate's manufacturing plant.

The city also credits Lewand in playing a central role in the city bringing the Detroit Pistons back home and for leading the restructuring of the city’s job training programs.

“In 2013, Tom was retired and attending art school when I recruited him to spend a couple of years to help us rebuild the city’s planning and economic development team and to help land the first couple of deals,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement Friday.  “Tom is as fine a negotiator as I’ve ever met.  He has exceeded by far every expectation I could have had for transforming Detroit’s reputation as a great place for business development.”

Duggan said he expects to hire Lewand’s successor by the end of the year.

Lewand thanked Duggan, his team and Detroit residents for the experience. He said he looks forward to retiring again.

“It’s time for me to let others take on the full-time challenge of creating new opportunities for growth in this great city and time for me to return to being a full-time husband, father and grandfather,” he said.

The announcement of Lewand's retirement comes as the city experiences a shift in leadership involving workforce development. 

Earlier this month, the city announced that Nicole Sherard-Freeman was promoted to executive director for Workforce Development and that former Neighborhood Services Organization CEO Sheilah Clay was named director of training quality and retention at Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, the city's workforce agency.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN