Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday appointed a new commerce director to oversee the city’s top business development office, a post that has sat vacant for months since the former director resigned in December amid allegations that he verbally abused staff.
Anne K. Nadol, a higher-education executive, will take the helm March 29, the mayor said in a statement. She will oversee roughly 60 employees who provide support in workforce and economic development to the city’s business community. During the pandemic, the department became a lifeline that helped administer grant money to battered businesses.
Kenney said Nadol’s experience in the public and private sectors — with a resumé spanning the mayor’s office, federal government, and higher education — will be instrumental in helping the economy recover from the financial crush of the last two years.
“I’m confident that Anne is the right person to help Philadelphia’s business community continue to rebound and set our city up for an equitable recovery in the months and years ahead,” the mayor said in a statement.
Nadol returns to city government from Temple University, where she has worked for more than 20 years in various senior leadership roles, most recently as the board of trustees’ secretary and vice president. Nadol also worked in the office of the university president through five administrations. Kenney credited her with modernizing operations and leading various projects, from Temple’s NCAA recertification to the university’s sexual-assault policy review.
This will not be Nadol’s first stint in government. Prior to her time in higher education, she worked as a special assistant to Mayor Ed Rendell and as a trade specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Since 2017, Nadol has also served on the board of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the nonprofit development arm founded by the city and the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The appointment follows months of uncertainty within the Commerce Department.
The mayor’s office has been providing oversight for the office since former director Michael Rashid’s abrupt departure more than three months ago.
In December, The Inquirer reported that department leaders and other staffers were leaving the office at an alarming rate, with some blaming Rashid’s allegedly abusive behavior. Some said Rashid also made anti-Semitic remarks, and his inflammatory social media posts about police officers and Jewish neighborhoods became a source of contention.
The office has 13 vacant positions that need to be filled, due to a mix of recent departures and newly created roles, according to the mayor’s office.
In a statement, Nadol did not address the recent turbulence within the department. Instead, she focused on her new role as a champion for small businesses that form the “backbone of communities across the city.”
“I am excited to build upon and enhance our partnerships in the public and private sector as we work to implement business development efforts that will help spread economic vitality and opportunity to every corner and zip code of Philadelphia,” Nadol said.