PRINCETON Tracye McDaniel, founding president and chief executive of Choose New Jersey Inc. - a privately funded nonprofit that works to increase investment and jobs in the state - will leave in early 2015 to lead the Texas Economic Development Corp.

Choose New Jersey's board of directors, under chairman Bernie Flynn, has initiated a search for her successor, according to the announcement Monday.

Flynn, also president and CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., praised McDaniel as having "set our course and secured a strong base of support from the state's business, labor, and education community."

"Her vision and expertise helped the organization become a powerful marketing engine, promoting the state as a premier business location all over the world," Flynn said.

Choose New Jersey visited a number of destinations during McDaniel's tenure, including recent trips with Gov. Christie to Canada last week and Mexico last summer.

The nonprofit is part of the New Jersey Partnership for Action (PFA), which, under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, serves as the starting point for all initiatives, policies, and efforts related to growing New Jersey's economy and creating quality sustainable jobs.

In 2014 NJBIZ included McDaniel on its list of New Jersey's Best 50 Women in Business, as well as the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Business.

"I'm incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish in the last four years, forming the basis of a next-generation model for economic development that has sparked global awareness about the benefits of doing business in New Jersey," McDaniel said.

McDaniel likened her return to Texas, where she started her career, as "going home." Her resume includes previous leadership in a number of Texas economic development organizations, including the Greater Houston Partnership and the state Economic Development and Tourism Division.

- Suzette Parmley