Raleigh leaders on Tuesday named James Sauls as the city’s new economic development director.
Anyone who’s familiar with Sauls’ work might think he already holds the job. For the past two years, he’s been the director of Raleigh Economic Development, a separate entity under the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce that partnered with the city to recruit new jobs and companies to Raleigh.
Now he’ll do similar work from within city hall, reporting to planning director Mitchell Silver.
“After three rounds of searches over the past nine months, I am thrilled we found the best candidate right here in Raleigh for the economic development manager’s position,” Silver said in a news release. “James is a proven leader. He knows Raleigh and has brought jobs and great projects to our city.”
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Sauls replaces Dwight Bassett, who held the job for just seven months in 2012 before he left Raleigh and returned to his old job in Chapel Hill.
Sauls also brings small-town experience to the job as the former economic development director for Fuquay-Varina, where he still lives.
He’ll start his new job on Monday and expects the transition should be easy. “It is great that I already have relationships with Raleigh’s economic development partners,” he said in the news release. “Now it is just a matter of strengthening those relationships.”