San Diego Business Journal

New EDC Executive Reverses Course, Says He’ll Stay in Phoenix

Friday, July 8, 2011

Barry Broome, just named as the new chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., apparently had a change of heart and is staying in Phoenix.

On July 7, just a day after he accepted the job in San Diego, Broome, 50, told the Greater Phoenix Economic Council he will remain on the job he’s held for about six years.

“He announced yesterday that he is staying with GPEC after he talked with both our boards and with members of the San Diego board,” said spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney.

Bob Watkins, whose executive search firm was hired by the EDC to find a replacement for retired CEO Julie Meier Wright, said he was still uncertain about what Broome’s plans are but that he said he would be returning to San Diego either July 9 or 10 to talk with the board.

“It’s a bit of shock to us all because the negotiations went very well, and he got really everything he asked for,” Watkins said.

In his 30 years in the executive search business, this is the first instance that such a high-profile position had been accepted and then rejected, Watkins said.

“It happens but not very often,” he said. “Sometimes when people make a decision, they go home and think about it, and sometimes they get soft knees.”

Broome would have been paid 15 percent more than his current salary which is about $366,000 including incentives and bonuses, Watkins said. Meier Wright earned $265,000 in her final year in salary alone.

Broome was selected some two weeks ago from a field of about 300 applicants, who sought out the job that entails attracting and retaining business to the region.

At a news conference announcing the selection July 6, Broome said he was eager to get to work and wanted to ramp up the pace of decision-making to create new jobs here.

“We have to hit the ground hard and start bringing economic opportunity to this community,” Broome said.

— Mike Allen