Pupatello new CEO of Economic Development Corp.

Sandra Pupatello has been named CEO of the economic development corporation.

Former MPP and cabinet member Pupatello to be named as CEO

Sandra Pupatello is the new Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation's new CEO. 2:58

Sandra Pupatello is the new CEO of the economic development corporation. 

On Thursday, CBC News obtained a letter to councillors entitled 'On Behalf of the Mayor.' The body of the message reads: "Today [Wednesday], the Board of Directors of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation hired Sandra Pupatello as the new Chief Executive Officer of the WEEDC."

The news was made official Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Hiram Walker Brand Centre.

"Sandra has been one of this region's most passionate, energetic and effective advocates of our time.  Prospective investors are sure to never forget Windsor-Essex after meeting with Sandra, and we couldn't be happier with her decision to join WEEDC," the corporation's board chair, Joseph Byrne, said.

At the news conference, Pupatello said she has always loved the economic development roles in her career. She twice was Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade as a Liberal MPP.

"Sandra Pupatello brings to WEEDC what few others can: Solid relationships with businesses around the globe, an inside-out knowledge of economic development within Ontario, the thorough understanding of our region's strengths and opportunities amassed over her lifetime residency here, and a sincere love for her hometown and its people," Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said.

Sandra Pupatello is introduced as CEO of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation. (Steven Bull/CBC News)

Essex County Warden Tom Bain is a member of the corporation's board of directors. He said Pupatello will make an excellent CEO.

"Economic development is a portfolio that she's held when she was representative of the provincial government, and it's an area in which she's been involved all her life," he said.

Gary McNamara is the mayor of Tecumseh. He said Pupatello is a good choice to help attract new investment to the region.

"I think it's a bit of a coup. Here's somebody who was the economic development you could say CEO for the province," he said.

Coun. Bill Marra is surprised Pupatello is returning to the area for this job. He worked on her failed campaign to become the leader of the Ontario Liberal party earlier this year.

"We're very fortunate to be in a position to secure someone who has not only a provincial reputation, certainly a national and one could argue a global reputation in the economic world," he said.

Pupatello becomes the eighth chief executive officer of the development corporation in the past nine years.

Lydia Miljan, a political science professor at the University of Windsor, said the hiring of Pupatello "bodes well for Windsor."

"Certainly everyone agrees that we've never had a better champion at the provincial level than Sandra Pupatello, with respect to economic development," Miljan said.  "She was our [Windsor's] biggest supporter at the provincial level."

In late January of this year Pupatello lost the provincial Liberal leadership race to Kathleen Wynne.  Pupatello indicated at the time she was finished with politics and would be heading back to the private sector.

There have been three different CEOs for WEEDC since 2008.  Most recently Ron Gaudet left the corporation in late 2012.