Tech Council of Maryland’s CEO resigns early -- Gazette.Net



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This story was updated on Nov. 23, 2012.

Art Jacoby, CEO of the Tech Council of Maryland on a permanent basis since August, is leaving the Rockville trade group in February.

In an announcement last week, the council, which has more than 400 members, said Jacoby is resigning effective Feb. 15 to return full-time to his consulting practice. Jacoby launched Maryland Cyber Investment Partners in Catonsville in 2011 with Larry Letow of Convergence Technology Consultants in Glen Burnie and Joe Tedesco. The company’s goal is to invest in growth-stage cybersecurity businesses in Maryland.

Jacoby, of Catonsville, took over as interim CEO of the tech council in December after Renée Winsky resigned after two years.

This fall, the tech council indicated that Jacoby would be CEO through at least May, with the council to vote in January on a permanent CEO.

“He will be considered favorably” for the permanent position, Letow, the tech council’s chairman, said at the time.

Neither Jacoby nor Letow returned phone calls seeking comment.

"It has been a pleasure to serve first as board member and for the past year as CEO of [the tech council] as the organization bolsters the great work its members are doing for job creation and our economy," Jacoby said in the Nov. 21 announcement. "I look forward to supporting [the tech council’s] mission and continuing to be an advocate for the state's technology and biotech industries."

Letow praised Jacoby in the announcement.

"I want to thank Art for his exemplary leadership,” Letow said. "Moving forward, the ... board will conduct a thorough executive search that takes into consideration the valuable insights of [tech council] stakeholders. We look forward to identifying the best possible leader to advance [the tech council’s] mission of helping Maryland technology companies collaborate, grow and succeed."

In a September interview, Jacoby said one of his challenges at the tech council would be nurturing Maryland’s young technology businesses and keeping them in the state, even as some of the more prominent ones are being acquired by larger out-of-state companies.

“It’s the natural life cycle of a business to grow enough to make itself valuable and then look for an exit, either through going public or mergers,” Jacoby said at the time. “We want to keep those jobs here. We hope they grow and hire from our universities. We’d like to see Maryland be more often the acquirer.”

He said the state must do everything it can to retain and attract executive talent and encourage innovation.

Besides connecting its members with new markets and helping them access capital, the tech council hosts regular seminars with industry leaders, which can reach 250 in attendance, Jacoby said. The council has a 60-person government relations committee to help influence legislation, particularly focusing on raising the state’s research and development tax credit, for which $6 million is authorized. A bill to boost the credit program to $18 million mission failed to pass the General Assembly this session. The council also is a big proponent of the state’s biotech investment tax credit program.

Jacoby’s departure during the middle of the 2013 General Assembly shouldn’t hinder the tech council’s legislative efforts, according to spokesman Brad Wills.

The tech council “has a strong legislative team, led by Brian Levine, and legislative committee that always play a major role in the advocacy work [the council] does for its membership so there won't be any impact on the upcoming session,” Wills said in an email Friday.

Veteran consultant

Jacoby has consulted businesses for more than 20 years.

After graduating from the College of William & Mary, he spent four years conducting economic research at the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. He then moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for the growing Target Corp. as a business unit financial planner before doing merger and acquisition work at Carlson Cos. and Tonka Toys.

His time with all three of these companies taught him to “bet on the jockey, not the horse” in terms of focusing on leadership, he said in the September interview.

“I learned that if you can get a really good working group together, that’s huge. That’s where one plus one equals three,” he said. “You want a good diversity.”

rrand@gazette.net