Mayor Betsy Hodges has nominated a business and economic development director at the University of Minnesota to lead the city's development department, one of the most important staff positions at City Hall.

The mayor announced Thursday that she was submitting Craig Taylor's name to the City Council for consideration as head of the city's Community Planning and Economic Development department. Known as CPED, the department oversees everything from guiding city development investments to advising the council on zoning and planning.

Taylor has been the director of the University's Office for Business and Community Economic Development, as well as the Business and Technology Center, since 2001. He last worked for the city in the 1980s, leading the Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprise.

If confirmed, Taylor will succeed the department's former permanent director, Jeremy Hanson Willis, whose appointment was accompanied by some criticism that he was not qualified for the position. The department has been lead by interim director Chuck Lutz since March.

β€œThe qualifications Craig brings will advance our work not only on growing the city, but on growing the city inclusively and advancing equity," Hodges said in a statement. "I have confidence his management skills, experience with strategic planning and history in the community will aide him in helping the city run well. I look forward to the City Council approving his nomination.”