Entrepreneur Fund Founder and CEO Mary Mathews Announces Retirement After 23 Years
Mary Mathews, founder and CEO of the Entrepreneur Fund, has announced her intention to leave her role as CEO in June 2013.
The Entrepreneur Fund Board of Directors will begin the search for a new CEO in late fall. The move comes as no surprise to the Fund, which has been planning for CEO succession since 2009.
“It’s part of our strategic plan,” Board Chair Sue Collins said. “One of the most difficult transitions an organization makes is when the founding CEO leaves. Mary has encouraged and supported our preparation for a smooth transition.”
Mathews has led the organization to national prominence in the fields of entrepreneur development and community development finance. The Entrepreneur Fund has helped start or grow over 1,300 companies in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. It has provided entrepreneurs with personal guidance, support and training, along with $15 million in loans to 450 companies.
“I’ve been honored to lead this organization and I look forward to watching it continue to have significant impact for entrepreneurs locally, regionally and nationally,” Mathews said.
The Fund has had many successes under Mathews’ leadership. Greenstone Group, an innovative 10-year initiative to increase the number of highly skilled entrepreneurs in the region, was launched in 2008. President Clinton awarded the Fund a Presidential Microenterprise award for Excellence in Developing Entrepreneurial Skills in 1999. And its loan fund has grown to $8 million.
Mathews wanted to see the organization to a solid footing before launching her succession plan.
“I am excited about what’s ahead for the Entrepreneur Fund and am committed to supporting a smooth leadership transition from founder to next CEO,” Mathews said. “I’m also excited about my future and the opportunities that are unfolding.”