F. Gray Swoope Jr. of the Mississippi Development Authority was hired Monday as president of Enterprise Florida, the organization announced.
Swoope, 49, had the backing of Gov. Rick Scott, who wrote a letter to Enterprise Florida vice chairman Hal Melton urging the board to "move as expeditiously as possible" to hire him. Scott wants Swoope to also serve as head of a new state commerce department that would house all of Florida's economic development efforts.
Swoope's contract was not final, but the board discussed an annual salary of $130,000 that with incentives would not exceed $300,000, said Enterprise Florida spokesman Stuart Doyle.
"As you get to know Gray, I am certain you will be as excited as I am about the role he can play in helping Florida businesses expand, recruiting new industry to our state and, ultimately, creating new jobs for our citizens," Scott wrote in the letter to Melton.
Last month, Scott fired John A. Adams Jr. as president of the public-private business development arm of the state, saying he wanted to take the group in a "different direction." Adams was owed at least $132,000.
Swoope is credited with bringing Toyota, PACCAR and GE Aviation to Mississippi.
Michael C. Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.