On Tuesday Governor Ned Lamont announced that he will be nominating Daniel O’Keefe to serve as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).
Mr. O’Keefe will succeed Alexandra Daum, who will be leaving state service in early 2024 to begin a position at Yale University.
O’Keefe currently serves at DECD as Connecticut’s first chief innovation officer, a position he will retain until a successor is found.
Prior to entering public service, O’Keefe was a successful technology investor for 25 years, investing in high growth, innovative companies in the software, internet, and financial technology markets, and in companies that went on to create tens of thousands of jobs.
“Dan’s background helping innovative companies grow will be a huge asset to our administration and the state as a whole,” Governor Lamont said in a release. “He has a deep understanding of how to foster an environment that supports economic growth. His insights and expertise will ensure we are making the right strategic decisions when it comes to strengthening our competitive position – both now and in the future.”
“I am excited to take on this expanded role at a unique moment in our shared history,” O’Keefe said. “With its robust education system, culture of entrepreneurship, supportive ecosystems, and strategic investments in our communities and people, Connecticut has the right foundational pieces in place for sustained growth. Our state is uniquely positioned to continue to benefit from trends we’ve experienced coming out of the pandemic. I look forward to working closely with Governor Lamont to continue to capitalize on those trends.”
O’Keefe earned a Master of Business Administration with high distinction (Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School, where he served as president of its Alumni Board, and an Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University, where he was class president and now serves on its President’s Leadership Council. He also serves as a board member and chairperson emeritus of The Opportunity Network, an education and career-skills focused nonprofit reaching more than 40,000 high-potential students from historically marginalized communities.
Daum joined DECD in March 2020, first serving as deputy commissioner and chief investment officer. Governor Lamont appointed her as commissioner on November 16, 2022, and she was subsequently confirmed by the state legislature.
Daum’s long list of accomplishments includes overseeing the state’s most high-profile community redevelopment initiatives, most notably the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant program, the Brownfield Municipal Grant Program, and the Community Investment Fund 2030. During her tenure, DECD also made major investments in business growth through the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, the JobsCT program, and the Manufacturing Innovation Fund – just to name a few.
“Alexandra has been a trusted advisor for the last three and a half years,” Governor Lamont said. “Her passion for investing in our communities and strong relationships with Connecticut businesses has benefited the state greatly. I thank Alexandra for her dedication and service to our administration and the State of Connecticut.”
“I’m proud of the investments DECD has smartly put to work in our communities and of the business, arts, and tourism organizations we’ve supported during my time overseeing the agency,” Commissioner Daum said. “I thank Governor Lamont and former Commissioner Lehman for the opportunity to serve the administration and DECD’s many constituents.”
The Office of the Governor will forward O’Keefe’s nomination to the Connecticut General Assembly for its advice and consent upon the start of the 2024 regular legislative session, which begins in February.