State Capitol News
1:55 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Arizona Has a New Commerce Chief

Sandra Watson has been interim president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority since July 1st after Don Cardon quit. The authority board authorized a nationwide search for a replacement. But after a closed-door meeting the panel unanimously chose Watson. Gov. Jan Brewer who sits on the board conceded after the meeting the outcome was really no surprise.

"We certainly interviewed and consulted with a lot of different people," the Governor said. "But no one rose to the occasion. They were either extremely good in one arena or one area and not so good in another area."

And Brewer said Watson has been doing a good job as interim chief. Still to be determined is how much Watson will be paid. Cardon, who became the first president and CEO when the public-private agency was created out of the old Commerce Authority, got $300,000 plus a $50,000 signing bonus and a $30,000 wellness and health allowance. And the board allowed Cardon to get $60,000 out of the $75,000 incentive package when he signed a three-year contract, even though he left after only one year. Brewer said that salary decision will be left to the board's compensation committee.

"And we will see what they negotiate. That's the next step in this and we hope that we have something put together by the end of October," the Governor added.

Watson is currently making $218,000 as interim director.