Jose Lozano was selected as the next head of Choose New Jersey on Monday night, following a vote of the organization’s Ambassador-level members, ROI-NJ has learned.
The move, first reported by ROI-NJ on April 11, was widely expected, but came after a search committee discussed a number of potential replacements.
Lozano will begin in the role on June 1.
Michele Brown, the previous CEO and president, announced her resignation on April 19, effective May 1.
Kathy Ellis, who recently retired as a vice president at New Jersey Resources, will serve as the interim head of the organization until Lozano arrives.
Lozano, the chief of staff at Hackensack Meridian Health, most recently served as the head of Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition team.
When Murphy selected Lozano for the role, he said it was only a temporary position in state government and that he had no plans to keep Lozano on after the January inauguration.
However, after Lozano did a strong job — helping the governor appoint a diverse cabinet that has more women than men for the first time — the governor was looking for a way to keep Lozano, a source told ROI-NJ earlier this month.
After considering Lozano for a number of positions, it was determined the role as head of Choose New Jersey would be the best fit.
Lozano has a strong history of success in both business and politics.
He is widely credited as being one of the architects of two major projects at Hackensack.
Lozano helped then-Hackensack University Health Network create a new medical school (along with Seton Hall University), merge with Meridian Health to form the second-largest health care system in the state and assist on a number of other partnerships that have helped make Hackensack Meridian a model for the health care system of the future.
Lozano, 38, also has a history of government service work.
He served leaders in both New Jersey and Washington, D.C., for more than a decade, working for U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Gov. Jon Corzine and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. He also worked on Corzine’s transition team in 2005.
Choose New Jersey is an independently funded and operated nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and nurture economic growth throughout New Jersey, with a focus on urban centers.
It is chaired by PSEG Power President and Chief Operating Officer Ralph LaRossa.
Choose New Jersey was founded in 2010, during the administration of Gov. Chris Christie.
Tracye McDaniel was named its first CEO in February 2011 and served for four years before returning to her native Texas. Brown was named to replace her in January 2015.
The Choose board is made up of top officials from many of the state’s top companies. According to the Choose New Jersey website, its leaders represent 1.25 million people, or nearly one-quarter of the state’s private-sector workforce.
Because of its status, the head is appointed by its board, not the governor.