Thomas brings a bold vision for the region’s future and the strategic role businesses can play to advance a diverse, inclusive and prosperous economy.
Baltimore, MD – After a national search for a visionary leader, the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) announced it has selected Mark Anthony Thomas as its new president and chief executive officer (CEO).
Thomas brings more than two decades of experience leading competitive economic development strategies and public-private partnerships for the nation’s largest and most complex metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, and, most recently, Pittsburgh. Mark currently serves as the president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), the 10-county regional business investment and talent attraction organization for Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Thomas will serve as the GBC’s first CEO since the organization’s spring merger with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB). The merger linked two major regional organizations to better align efforts around a singular vision and position the Greater Baltimore region to thrive in a competitive global economic landscape and address critical challenges facing the communities the organization serves.
“At the outset of this process, we merged two organizations to work together intentionally, strengthening our communities and the region’s economy,” said Calvin Butler, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Exelon and GBC’s Board Chair. “Our next milestone was to secure a dynamic leader to define a new vision for inclusive economic development and growth. Mark’s proven experience, leadership and collaboration with stakeholders across business, government, nonprofit organizations, academia and the broader community will be critical to advancing the initiatives building the region’s assets.”
Mary Ann Scully, former Vice Chair of GBC’s Board of Directors and Dean of the Joseph A. Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland, chaired GBC’s CEO search committee. The committee worked diligently alongside the international recruiting firm Korn Ferry to ensure a broad and comprehensive search. The committee, composed of a diverse group of fourteen regional leaders representing GBC and EAGB board members as well as those not previously engaged with either board, went through an extensive search process seeking a candidate with a strong blend of both private and public sector economic development experience and a proven history of working with multiple stakeholders across diverse communities.
Scully noted that “the committee was impressed with Thomas’ consistent commitment to collaborative leadership that moved every economy that he touched forward in both growth and inclusion. At this opportune time in Greater Baltimore, Mark’s experience, perspective and deep appreciation for the assets resident in our region will move us forward and upward together.”
Under Thomas’ leadership, the PRA, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, worked with public officials, development and talent partners to position the region for more than $2 billion in capital investment, with more than 100 business expansion and development projects. PRA launched the Next is Now regional brand, establishing a unified approach to support local business expansions and attractions and immerse local talent in regional opportunities. Thomas chairs the Board of Directors for the Power of 32 Site Development Fund, which deploys low-cost capital for regional development projects, and co- chaired a public partnership to reposition Pittsburgh’s downtown for the post-pandemic impact of remote and hybrid work.
Before PRA, Thomas served as the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s first senior vice president of partnerships, establishing teams to foster and manage industry and international relationships and business attraction. He served a pivotal role in launching NYC’s $1.3 billion cluster investment strategy to catalyze more than 100,000 jobs through emerging growth sectors and neighborhood developments. Thomas has also served in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s administration, leading efforts to craft and securing support to reform LA’s public works, real estate, and risk reduction operations and centralizing the city’s procurement function.
“The last decade has challenged the resiliency of cities and regions and disrupted any historical playbooks for how public-private partnerships tackle issues of economic inclusion and competitiveness,” Thomas said. “With the merger and the passion expressed by the business and civic community for the future of the region, I couldn’t be more honored to lead the GBC in its next chapter of impact and execution. Every community, within the city and the regional counties, will feel represented in our work and agenda.”
Before entering the public sector, Thomas worked in the media sector, shaping content and investigative journalism on social impact, economic development, and effective governance. He received his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and BA from the University of Georgia, and has served on several boards supporting college access, creative arts, and civic innovation.
“With Mark’s leadership, we can begin to advance the next phase behind this merger,” Brian D. Pieninck, President and CEO, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and former EAGB chair, added. “Leveraging partnerships, optimizing the region’s assets and maintaining an inclusive vision will be our path forward to increase economic opportunities, get people more engaged, and invest in lasting, equitable growth.”
Thomas will take the reins from GBC’s interim leader, Sharon Markley Schreiber, who steered the organization as COO after GBC’s longtime CEO, Donald Fry, retired in June after two decades of service.
ABOUT THE GREATER BALTIMORE COMMITTEE
The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) is a regional organization of business and civic leaders that includes businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational and civic institutions. It is the leading voice for the private sector in the Baltimore region on issues relating to equitable economic growth, racial inclusion, job creation, workforce development, transportation, the business climate and quality of life. The GBC’s membership includes more than 500 member organizations, including large, mid-size and small companies, nonprofits, foundations and educational and healthcare institutions in the Greater Baltimore region.
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