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New economic development corporation finds CEO

After an extensive five-month search, the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation has found its inaugural CEO.

The corporation announced late last week that Susan Cudahy, currently a senior manager at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, will help establish the fledgling corporation and complete the process of creating the 17-member board of directors.

Pinton Forrest and Madden, an executive search firm, helped existing board members find the best candidate, a process board co-chairman A.J. Hustins called difficult.

"The NEDC board had to make some tough decisions," he said. "We had exemplary candidates wanting to come to Nanaimo to undertake this challenge. However, Susan really impressed all of us and is going to be a great addition to Nanaimo and the corporation."

Prior to her work at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Cudahy was president and CEO of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation as well as general manager of the Waterloo Regional Marketing Corporation.

Her private sector experience includes senior management positions within the automotive alternative fuels market and the natural gas utility sector. She was also president of OZ Management Consulting, focusing on economic development, sustainability, venture capital investment and tourism marketing.

She begins her new role in Nanaimo on Oct. 17.

Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan, who spearheaded development of corporation, said one of Cudahy's first tasks will include branding the new venture.

"The success of this corporation is going to start with brand identification," said Ruttan. "She needs to be prepared to set out goals and objectives of NEDC, sit down with all of the players involved,  get to know them and look beyond traditional borders to pursue opportunities."

Moira Jenkins, board co-chairwoman, said the corporation is ready to get going under Cudahy.

"The board of directors is very excited that we are able to attract a high-calibre individual like Susan to help us achieve success," said Jenkins.

The corporation, an arm's length organization to city hall, was designed to incorporate Nanaimo's economic development and tourism offices into one entity. It will begin operation with a $1.37-million budget and has a term of 20 years.

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