Robert Hoffman, a veteran southern Minnesota business and civic leader, has been named interim CEO of Greater Mankato Growth (GMG).  

Hoffman will work for three weeks with veteran Mankato Growth CEO Jonathon Zierdt, who will step down on March 15 to focus on his health.

 “When you combine my high regard for what GMG has been able to accomplish with my friendship and appreciation for the leadership that Jonathan Zierdt has provided… for the last 14 years, I am most willing to accept the interim leadership role,” Hoffman said in a prepared statement.  

Zierdt, 52, said in January he would resign to focus on personal interests and coping with aggressive metastatic prostate cancer. It followed kidney cancer that has remained in remission since 2014.

Zierdt said, in part, in a statement: “After a career of 30 years, I, along with my wife Ginger, believe the time is right to focus on my health while also pursuing other interests, such as photography, the work of the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund, and in particular, the growth of the fund’s 'caring box' program, which provides items of support, comfort and access to resources of benefit to cancer patients, their families and caregivers.”

GMG was formed in 2007 after a merger of the Mankato Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Mankato Economic Development Corporation. It is the region’s integrated business development organization with approximately 1,000 members.

“Jonathan has worked tirelessly to set the vision and forge beneficial relationships for Greater Mankato,” said CEO Ron Vetter of Vetter Stone, chair of the GMG board. “As a result, Mankato is admired [for] being one of the fastest-growing economies in the state. On behalf of the board, we extend our sincerest appreciation and warmest regards to Jonathan and wish he and Ginger well as they begin the next phase of their lives.”

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