News: Claire Leonardi To Take On CEO Role At Connecticut Innovations

Connecticut Innovations (CI) announced yesterday that it is bringing in a new CEO, Claire Leonardi.  At a time when CI just announced an unprecedented level of funding to support new ventures in Connecticut (and attract ventures to Connecticut) and to improve the state’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” it’s tempting to try to read meaning into this change in leadership.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Connecticut Innovations is ‘the state’s VC firm’ (or as they put it,“a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving an entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut”).  The current CEO of CI, Peter Longo, will continue to work in what appears to be a COO role in the organization, moving CI operations forward.  It seems likely that this change is a reflection of the expanded funding made available to CI through the Jobs bill passed last year.

This also makes intuitive sense, given that a merger of the Connecticut Development Authority into CI is also on the Governor’s agenda (the release cites this fact as well).  The CDA is “the state’s bank that offers low cost financing to businesses to stimulate investment, create jobs and help grow Connecticut.”

Catherine Smith, chair of Connecticut Innovations (CI), announced today that Claire Leonardi, a veteran investment and venture capital executive with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, has been chosen to lead CI as its new chief executive officer.  You may remember that Catherine Smith was named to the DECD position last March, after Joan McDonald moved to a position in New York State.

What does this mean from a “ground-level” perspective?  How will the change affect the state’s entrepreneurs, and ecosystem?  While an expanded mandate and greater resources will hopefully provide great benefits to the state’s competitiveness, the fact that management changes and large-scale organizational integration projects usually take up a large part of the organization’s focus make the picture uncertain for the short term.

Read the Full Press Release on the Connecticut Technology Council blog.

About derekkoch

CEO Founder of Independent Software, Editor in Chief of Whiteboard, and Startup Weekend Organizer and Facilitator. Helping entrepreneurs and small businesses create the next great web concept.

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