Paterson Taps Industry Heavies for ESDC Search Committee

Governor Paterson is tapping a host of top business executives for a search committee to find new leadership for New York’s development agency, the Empire State Development Corporation.

Sanford Weill, the Wall Street big shot and former chairman of Citigroup, is expected to chair the committee and has taken the lead in its formation, along with Vincent Roberti, a political strategist, Democratic fund-raiser and film financier, according to two people with knowledge of the committee.

(Mr. Paterson’s office had no comment.)

The committee comes as government officials and business executives have criticized the effectiveness of the Empire State Development Corporation.

Governor Spitzer sought reforms during his time in office, some of which were beginning to be implemented, though people who have dealt with ESDC say the leadership structure—with powers divided among the top officials, who clashed with each other—frequently led to conflicting messages.

The downstate ESDC chairman, Patrick Foye, tendered his resignation last month, leaving that position open. It is unclear whether the committee will look to fill that role or perhaps restructure the agency, people familiar with discussions say, though the current structure seems likely to be an early topic of conversation given criticisms.

According to two people familiar with the committee, the names of those asked to participate include Mr. Weill; Mr. Roberti; Fred Wilpon, the Mets co-owner and chairman of Sterling Equities; Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox; real estate titan Jerry Speyer of Tishman Speyer; Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon; Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric; and Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline. Paterson Taps Industry Heavies for ESDC Search Committee