DOVER — Delaware Economic Development Office director Alan Levin said Thursday he will step down in two months to take a job in the private sector.
Mr. Levin has led DEDO since Gov. Jack Markell took office in 2009. He will join the Sussex-based restaurant company SoDel Concepts, where he will work as senior adviser.
In statements, both Gov. Markell and Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., praised Mr. Levin Thursday.
“Alan has shown great leadership during six years that have been marked by great progress in recovering from the Great Recession and addressing the challenges of the 21st century,” the governor said.
“Successfully improving the economy since 2009 has required a relentless pursuit of opportunities to attract new companies and support existing ones, as well as an ability to recognize and adjust to the forces of globalization and technological innovation that are shaping today’s world. Alan excels in all of these areas and I’m forever grateful for his tireless service to our state and for his long-term commitment to the administration.”
The statement touted Mr. Levin’s efforts in re-opening the oil refinery in Delaware City, bringing new businesses to the old Chrysler plant in Newark and attracting companies such as Perdue, Amazon and Kraft Foods.
According to the administration, Delaware’s employment market has grown at a 4.4 percent pace over the past two years and unemployment has dipped to 4.6 percent. Both figures are better than the national average.
However, The Economist reported in April that Delaware was the only state to see a drop in hourly and weekly wages from 2009 to 2014.
Additionally, a deal that provided $20 million in incentives to the car company Fisker left the state with egg on its face when the corporation declared bankruptcy and the envisioned job creation failed to materialize.
Mr. Levin will move on to SoDel Concepts once the current legislative session ends June 30.
Before becoming the head of DEDO, Mr. Levin was the founding partner of Innovation Capital Partners and previously president and chief executive officer of the Happy Harry’s drugstore chain which his father founded.
A graduate of Tulane University and the Delaware Law School of Widener University, he has worked in the Delaware Department of Justice and served on the board of directors for both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.
He plans to move to Rehoboth Beach, where SoDel Concepts is based. The company was founded by his friend Matt Haley, who died in 2014.
“Though I am looking forward to spending more time at the Delaware beaches, I am even more excited to be involved with SoDel Concepts,” he said in a statement. “Business is what I do best.”
Mr. Levin, who was mentioned as a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2008, said in November he did not plan to run in 2016.
According to the governor’s office, a successor will be named within a few days.