NEWARK-Beginning on May 1, former chief of the Office of Economic Growth Jerold L. Zaro is joining locally based law firm Sills Cummis & Gross.  Mr. Zaro will work out of the Firm’s New York and New Jersey offices. Six different governors–three Republicans and three Democrats–have appointed Zaro to a variety of leadership posts in their Administrations, and he has spent more than thirty years as a noted attorney in private practice. 

“Working in the public sector truly has been one of the highlights of my career,” Zaro said in a statement. “I am fortunate to have had the rare privilege of serving under outstanding governors from both parties, most recently the innovative administration of Gov. Christie. I look forward to returning to practicing law and am extremely proud to join Sills Cummis & Gross, one of the premier firms in the New York metropolitan area.” 

Max Crane, managing partner, tells, “Our firm has a proud tradition of attracting leaders from the public sector. Sills Cummis is committed to attracting and retaining the most extraordinary legal minds in the region, and Jerry Zaro is an outstanding example of this commitment to excellence.” Adds Steven E. Gross, chairman of the firm, “We are very pleased that someone with Jerry Zaro’s record of accomplishments and leadership chose Sills Cummis & Gross after a highly successful stint in public service. His reputation for client service and business acumen will fit well with our firm.”

During his tenure as New Jersey’s economic czar, Zaro made multiple significant strides in promoting and facilitating the business environment in the state. Under former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2009, Zaro played a pivotal role in the decision of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. to move to Jersey City, bringing 1,600 jobs to the state. The decision to move was based on a package of government incentives not just on a state level, but also on the county and municipal levels, which Zaro helped orchestrate.

While in the Corzine Administration, Zaro was also instrumental in laying the groundwork for the New Jersey Nets eventual decision to move from the Izod Arena to the Prudential Center Arena here, effectively freeing up the Izod Arena for more concerts and family events; in essence, creating two premier regional venues. Zaro also assisted Gov. Christie and the special committee chaired by Jon Hanson in developing a new purse schedule that will allow Monmouth Park to pay out $1 million per day in purse money, the highest in the nation. 

While serving in the public sector, Zaro has had a hand in bringing thousands of jobs to New Jersey, and assisting the expansion of businesses already here, including bringing the then newly established MLB Network to Secaucus. MLB Network is investing approximately $50 million in the state-of-the-art facility, creating more than 200 new full-time jobs and more than 200 part-time positions in the Garden State. Zaro also worked with Maquet Cardiovascular, a leading global producer of medical products, to expand their existing facilities in Wayne. Maquet expects to create 350 new jobs in New Jersey and invest an additional $40 million in the business as a result of the expansion. In addition, he worked with Bausch & Lomb to establish its new global headquarters in Madison. Bausch & Lomb’s 30,000-square-foot facility will create 70 full-time, high-paying jobs in the Garden State.

On the business front, Zaro has worked to make New Jersey a friendlier environment. He helped to create and then lead the Real Estate Advisory Board, comprised of the leaders in the industry, to to identify and eliminate red tape, propose pro-business legislation and attract more businesses to locate in the state. He also worked to develop the Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Act, which outsources some DEP applications to private licensed professionals and fast-tracks the application process; launched the Patent Bank, which provides a central state directory for inventors and innovators to list their patents and assists in bringing new developments to market; and drafted a variety of other state incentive programs, including the Urban Transit Tax Hub Credit and the Economic Recovery Grant.

Before entering the public sector, Zaro was the president and managing partner of Ansell Zaro Grimm & Aaron, where he devoted his law career to commercial real estate and banking. He was appointed commissioner of the New Jersey Highway Authority by Gov. Jim Florio (D) in 1991, reappointed by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) and appointed vice chairman of the Agency by Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco (R).In Feb. 2002, Gov. James McGreevey (D) appointed Zaro chairman of the New Jersey Highway Authority, where he was instrumental in its merger into the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. In 2004, Zaro was appointed commissioner of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns, operates and maintains Giants Stadium, the Izod Arena–then Continental Airlines Arena–the Meadowlands Racetrack, Monmouth Park, the Atlantic City Convention Center and the Camden Aquarium. He chaired the NJSEA’s Committee on Racing and Wagering and co-chaired the Breeder’s Cup Host Committee for the 2007 Breeder’s Cup Thoroughbred Championships at Monmouth Park. During that time, Zaro helped launch Internet horse race wagering and established New Jersey’s first off-track wagering parlors.

In addition to his involvement with a variety of businesses and corporate boards, Zaro has been engaged with numerous charitable organizations and civic affairs. Among them, he served as chairman of the PNC Bank Arts Center and oversaw its expansion to 17,000 seats.

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