Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday appointed top aide Shawntera Hardy as head of the state's jobs and economic development agency.

Hardy will succeed Katie Clark Sieben, who will step down as commissioner of the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development later this month. Hardy has worked as deputy chief of staff to Dayton since March 2015, and has primarily overseen the state's emergency response efforts, as well as initiatives to diversify state government.

"As a member of my senior leadership team, she has consistently demonstrated her exceptional ability to manage complex organizations and engage a wide variety of viewpoints in solving difficult problems," Dayton said in a statement. "Ms. Hardy shares my commitment to eliminating economic disparities in our state, and building an economy that works for all Minnesotans, everywhere in Minnesota. I will strongly support her efforts to continue the progress that Commissioner Clark Sieben began."

Clark Sieben was appointed commissioner in 2012, and before that worked as executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. Dayton praised her tenure, saying that her "devoted service to the people and businesses of Minnesota has improved our state's economy." He noted that the state was ranked the top state for doing business, according to a recent CNBC ranking.

Clark Sieben did not immediately announce any other plans for after her tenure ends April 22.

Hardy, 38, is an Ohio native. She studied consumer affairs at Ohio State University, and holds a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In Minnesota, she previously worked as a St. Paul city planner, and has held leadership positions at several Minnesota companies and nonprofits. She was named by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal as a "40 Under 40" honoree.

"Minnesota has a strong and growing economy, made possible by the many successful businesses and hardworking people who call Minnesota home," Hardy said in a statement. "Despite our nation-leading progress in business development and job creation, we have much more work to do to ensure all Minnesotans share in our state's economic prosperity."

She also has worked as policy director at Fresh Energy, a nonprofit that advocates on environmental and transportation policy.

She was also previously manager of government relations for HealthPartners' hospital division.