The Minnesota Trade Office has named a Polaris Industries veteran, Gabrielle Gerbaud, to be its executive director effective April 19.

The former Polaris Industries manager boasts 14 years of experience in international business and trade. She takes over the MTO post from former director Kathleen Motzenbecker, who left late last year for an executive position with the Medical Alley Association.

As Gerbaud assumes her leadership duties at the Trade Office on Wednesday, she inherits an agency responsible for fostering $19 billion worth of exports annually from Minnesota manufacturers, mining firms and agricultural producers.

She takes over at a crucial time. Minnesota exports fell 4 percent last year, mainly due to a drop in product orders from Canada, the state's largest trading partner. Last year also saw decreased shipments to Mexico and Japan and flattened exports to China.

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