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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Mar. 8, 201712:00 PM EST

Enterprise Florida names interim chief after Hart's sudden resignation

by: Jim Turner The News Service of Florida

Florida’s business-recruitment agency Tuesday named its executive vice president as interim CEO — a day after the top position was abruptly vacated by Chris Hart.

The Enterprise Florida Executive Committee, at the recommendation of Vice Chairman Stan Connally, agreed to appoint Mike Grissom as interim CEO until a replacement can be found.

No time limit was put on the interim role or how the agency will move forward in seeking a new leader as its future remains in doubt due to the state House’s plans to abolish it.

“I do think we need to let the dust settle a little bit from what’s happened the last day-and-a-half,” Connally said.

Grissom had been a senior director at the Florida Chamber of Commerce and executive director for the Republican Party of Florida before joining Enterprise Florida, where he serves as point person between the agency, the governor’s office and the Legislature.

Hart, a former state lawmaker from Tampa hired by Enterprise Florida in November, surprised many in the Capitol on Monday, saying in a resignation letter his decision was due to differences of opinion with Scott on the future of the public-private agency.

Hart didn’t elaborate in the letter on the differences and the governor’s office called it “odd” that he didn’t share the same vision for the agency as Scott.

Connally said Hart had tried to reach him before sending out the letter, but he had nothing to offer regarding Hart’s decision beyond what was in Monday’s letter.

“That’s Chris’ personal decision, and I won’t and can’t attempt to explain any of the details in this,” Connally said. “We’ve all personally witnessed Chris’ efforts over the last couple of months since he’s been involved. I think those efforts were genuine.”

Before the conference call, Enterprise Florida released a draft of a contract that would have paid Hart a base salary of $200,000 a year.

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