Editor’s note: Due to incorrect information, the original version of this post had an incorrect address for Hillbilly Tea’s Portland location.
Welcome to the May 26 Monday Business Briefing.
This is your private business intelligence briefing with Insider Louisville staff and contributors vetting tips collected during the past few days, hours and minutes before we post.
A reminder: Though this is a special holiday edition of MBB, Insiders Meetups is taking a hiatus on this Memorial Day. We will see you Monday, June 9, with a guest to be announced later this week.
Summer is upon us, and usually, the summer biz-news doldrums begin.
Not this year.
And the next CEO of GLI is …
• On Friday, as these things tend to happen, we started getting tips that Greater Louisville Inc. finally has a new CEO.
Who is – we’re thrilled to report – from the entrepreneurial side, and certainly not in the mold of Joe Reagan.
Kent Oyler has a long record of creating, building and selling companies, being a civic leader, as well as being a mentor to young entrepreneurs. Currently, he’s chairman of GLI’s EnterpriseCorp, which works with early stage companies.
We reached out to Kent, who sent us this in an email:
Certainly I have received some encouragement from inside and outside GLI to take a closer look at the position since you floated my name on IL weeks ago. But let’s not get the cart ahead of the horse. All I really know at this point is that GLI’s exec committee makes the ultimate decision on the CEO hiring and they do not meet again until sometime next week.
He’s referring to a post back in February, even before Craig Richard’s departure was final, that stated Richard’s successor inherits a crisis situation. At the time, we presented our first round – our dream list, as it were – of potential CEOs we thought up to the challenge.
Our dream list included strong local leaders such as PNC Kentucky President Chuck Denny; Doug Cobb, the first GLI CEO; Cobb’s successor, Steve Higdon; former EnterpriseCorp president Mark Crane; former GLI econ-dev VP Daryl Snyder; and, of course, Kent Oyler.
That was several lifetimes ago. On April 30, GLI essentially ceased to exist when the Fischer Administration folded GLI’s economic-development piece into city government. So now if he indeed becomes GLI CEO, Kent’s job won’t be merely to rebuild GLI, it will be to answer the questions everyone is asking, including “What is GLI now? What do they do? What should GLI be in the future?”
We stand by what we wrote on Feb., 16, just before Richard’s departure was announced:
• Kent Oyler is an entrepreneur and civic leader who has the personality and contacts to instantly reverse GLI fortunes. Also, Kent is chairman of EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial side of GLI. (The side that actually works.) Oyler told us Friday an interim position “would be interesting. But on a permanent basis, they need someone with chamber-building experience. Someone who will deal with hard problems.” He could think of several people, he said, “maybe me among them ….” That doesn’t sound like “no.” But other factors make him a long shot including his investments and his day job at OPM Financials. We’ll say 20-to-1.
We wish we’d bet $100 across the board.