Parsons withdraws from consideration as EDC director

LONG-TIME economic development official William J. Parsons has asked to be withdrawn from consideration as the next executive director of the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, citing recent health concerns.
Posted 2/14/13

PROVIDENCE – Citing a recent health issue, William J. Parsons has asked to be withdrawn from consideration to permanently lead the R.I. Economic Development Corporation, the quasi-state agency announced Thursday.

Parsons, the managing director of business and community development for the EDC, has been serving as the agency’s interim director since Keith W. Stokes resigned in the wake of the 38 Studios LLC implosion.

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, who announced his decision to nominate Parsons to head the EDC in late November, accepted Parson’s request to withdraw. “I understand Bill’s request, and I can certainly appreciate his re-evaluation in light of facing a potentially serious health issue,” Chafee said in a statement. “Bill has given many years to the EDC, and I want to genuinely thank him for his ongoing service to our state.”

According to the EDC, Parsons wrote a letter to the governor, citing a “recent serious health issue” and explaining that he did not think he could accept the “high-stress, high-demand post” of executive director.

“After reflecting on the duties and responsibilities of the executive director and in consultation with my family, I have determined that my recent health concerns will not allow me to adequately serve in this demanding role,” Parsons said in prepared remarks. “In the interest of stability and continuity for the RIEDC, I feel it is important for the next executive director to be in a position to make an extended commitment to the agency. Due to my recent health issues, I do not believe that I can make such a commitment to serving as executive director at this time.

“I take tremendous pride in our state and in my 37 years of helping businesses grow and succeed in Rhode Island,” Parsons added. “It has been a pleasure to work collaboratively with businesses, government and other economic development partners to meet the needs of companies as they have expanded and relocated jobs in the state. I am especially proud of being part of the ongoing turnaround taking place at the RIEDC over the last nine months.”

Parsons will continue to act as the agency’s managing director of community and business development.

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