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GBC announces new CEO, capping monthslong national search

Mark Anthony Thomas has been named the new president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. (Submitted Photo)

The Greater Baltimore Committee has tapped a veteran economic development leader with two decades of experience in other major metropolitan areas as its new CEO and president.

The organization announced Friday that it had chosen Mark Anthony Thomas, currently the president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, as its new leader.

Thomas will serve as the GBC’s first CEO since the organization’s spring merger with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. The merger linked two major regional organizations to better align economic development efforts and to address critical challenges facing the regional area.

“Our next milestone was to secure a dynamic leader to define a new vision for inclusive economic development and growth,” said Calvin Butler, senior executive vice president and COO of Exelon and GBC’s Board Chair. “Mark’s proven experience, leadership and collaboration with stakeholders across business, government, nonprofit organizations, academia and the broader community will be critical to advancing the initiatives building the region’s assets.”

Thomas will take over from the GBC’s interim leader, Sharon Markley Schreiber, who served as COO after GBC’s longtime CEO, Donald Fry, retired in June after two decades of service.

Under Thomas’ leadership, the PRA, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, worked with public officials, development and talent partners to position the region for more than $2 billion in capital investment, with more than 100 business expansion and development projects.

Before PRA, Thomas was the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s first senior vice president of partnerships. He also served in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration, leading efforts to reform the city’s public works, real estate, and risk reduction operations and to centralize its procurement processes.

“The last decade has challenged the resiliency of cities and regions and disrupted any historical playbooks for how public-private partnerships tackle issues of economic inclusion and competitiveness,” Thomas said. “With the merger and the passion expressed by the business and civic community for the future of the region, I couldn’t be more honored to lead the GBC in its next chapter of impact and execution. Every community, within the city and the regional counties, will feel represented in our work and agenda.”

Thomas received his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and BA from the University of Georgia. He has served on several boards supporting college access, creative arts, and civic innovation.

The selection of Thomas was the culmination of a national search led by Mary Ann Scully, dean of the Joseph A. Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland. A 14-person search committee composed of GBC and EAGB board members enlisted the help of  international recruiting firm Korn Ferry during the process.

Scully said that “the committee was impressed with Thomas’ consistent commitment to collaborative leadership that moved every economy that he touched forward in both growth and inclusion.”