RI gov taps Parsons to lead economic agency

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Thursday named William J. Parsons, a longtime state economic development official, to lead the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. as it tries to rebuild following its loan guarantee to Curt Schilling's failed video game company.

Parsons is currently a managing director at the economic agency and has overseen its day-to-day operations since May, when executive director Keith Stokes resigned after facing questions about the $75 million loan guarantee to 38 Studios, which has declared bankruptcy.

The nomination must be approved by the state Senate.

Parsons has spent 37 years working on economic development issues for the state. Chafee cited that institutional background — and Parson's help in beginning to turn around the EDC — when he announced the nomination.

"Bill's extensive knowledge, experience and relationships, combined with the EDC's new focus on serving existing Rhode Island businesses, will help the agency enter a new era without having to start from square one," the independent governor said in his announcement.

Parsons, of North Providence, said he looks forward to working with Chafee to "transform" the EDC.

"I am eager to continue our assessment of what works well at the EDC and what, quite frankly, has not been working," he said in a statement.