Austin Beutner has been appointed first deputy mayor and chief executive for economic and business policy for the City of Los Angeles, overseeing several key departments and issues such as economic development at the airports.
Beutner was named to the newly created position by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to revamp and retool the city’s approach to economic development, business attraction and retention and job creation. He will report directly to the mayor.
The chief executive for economic and business policy will oversee the departments of Planning; Building and Safety; Community Development; Housing; and the Department of Water and Power. He will also manage the Homeless Services Authority; the Housing Authority; the Community Redevelopment Agency; the Los Angeles Convention Center; LA Inc.; and the Port of Los Angeles.
Economic development and business policy at Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that operates Los Angeles International Airport, are among other issues handled by Beutner. Villaraigosa said the executive will have a direct line of authority over DWP, the Port of Los Angeles, and economic and business issues at the airports.
“Austin Beutner will bring an unprecedented level of experience to this newly created and empowered position and I have tasked him with fixing our approach to economic development and business policy to make LA more business friendly and job creation much easier,” Villaraigosa said. “It’s a big task but I am confident Austin is up to the job.”
Beutner’s appointment is the first step of a total refocusing of economic development and job creation in Los Angeles, according to the mayor’s office.
“Job creation must be our number one priority and we’ve selected an Angeleno with a stellar private sector career and high-level government experience to take this on,” the mayor said.
Beutner will be charged with creating new markets for emerging industries such as high tech, bio-tech, and clean technology and he will focus on encouraging local preference for Los Angeles businesses. He will also work to retain and grow important businesses currently in Los Angeles such as the entertainment industry.
“Our city is at a critical juncture. After decades of growth, our economy is stagnant and our unemployment is high,” Beutner said. “While some of this is due to macroeconomic factors beyond our control, it is imperative we improve the business climate and develop and execute a strategy for economic development and job creation to make the city of Los Angeles a business center for the 21st century.”
A Los Angeles resident for more than a decade, Beutner was a founding partner of Evercore Partners, a leading financial services firm.