ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton and the Mayo Clinic turned Tuesday to heavy hitters in business and politics to run a new governing authority that will oversee the medical facility's ambitious Destination Medical Center expansion in Rochester, which is billed as the state's largest-ever economic development project.
Dayton made four picks to the eight-member board: his chief of staff Tina Smith, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, former Wells Fargo and Co. executive James Campbell and Rani Engineering president Susan Rani. Meanwhile, Mayo has designated ex-Medtronic chief executive Bill George as its representative on the panel.
The board of the nonprofit corporation is responsible for adopting the development plan that will guide the multi-billion-dollar expansion being aided by a significant public subsidy.
Dayton said this week that he consulted Mayo before making his selections known. The caliber of his picks reflects the magnitude of the project, he said.
"Knowing the great importance and lasting significance of this initiative, I have selected well-respected, effective leaders with proven records of success; people who can see the big picture, and then actualize it," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement.
Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo's president and CEO, said the clinic's choice of George "brings a wealth of experience" to the panel given his past leading one of the world's largest medical device companies. George presently serves on other corporate boards, including ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs.
Stephen Parente, director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota's business school, said the heft of Tuesday's picks impressed him and make him hopeful that the promise of the Mayo expansion will bear out.
"I think this is an incredible opportunity that can raise the profile of the state, but it needs heavyweight leaders that have deep big project tactical experience to make the investment count," Parente said. "The picks made are pretty close to my dream team to get this done."
The newly named members join Rochester's mayor, the city council president and an Olmsted County board designee. The governor's picks are subject to Senate confirmation.
The package approved in May by the Legislature allows up to $585 million in state and city funds to be used toward infrastructure around the build-out. Mayo officials say the public money will leverage several billion dollars in private investment as Rochester undergoes a business and cultural facelift to help Mayo and the area better compete with other medical giants, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins.
With its more than 30,000 employees, Mayo is the state's largest private employer. The 20-year expansion carries the prospect of 30,000 more jobs — those directly at Mayo and at spinoff developments the project is expected to attract.
Board members aren't paid but are eligible for expense allowances. The board will be covered by the open meeting law and state records laws. Some members will serve four-year terms and others will be on the panel for six years.
A Dayton spokesman said Smith will continue as the governor's chief of staff while taking on her new board duties. Rybak will complete his third and final term as Minneapolis mayor later this year.