ALBANY-M&T Bank Corp. chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers has been nominated by New York Gov. David Paterson as the new chairman of the Empire State Development Corp. The recently revealed nomination came the same day Dan Gundersen resigned as chairman of Upstate ESDC. Patrick Foye, the chairman of the downstate region for ESDC, resigned in March shortly after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned.

The moves are a clear sign that Gov. Paterson is looking to revamp the agency. The governor has called for doing away with the leadership structure at ESDC where one chairperson was in charge of Upstate economic development and another chairperson led Downstate efforts, without what he terms a clear reporting structure.

“I believe that, because we are one state, we need one leader for ESDC who understands the challenges facing New York as a whole,” Gov. Paterson says. “We need someone who understands the challenges of revitalizing Upstate, the complexities of jump-starting the large development and transportation projects Downstate and the economic relationship between Upstate and Downstate.”

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