Choose New Jersey, a privately-funded state economic development organization formed by allies of former Gov. Chris Christie to attract businesses to the state, announced today that diplomat Wesley Mathews has been chosen as the organization’s new president and CEO, succeeding José Lozano. The $450,000-a-year position is one of the state’s highest-paid roles.
“Under Wesley Mathews’ leadership, Choose New Jersey will continue our important mission to strengthen and grow New Jersey’s economy and attract global businesses to our state,” Choose NJ Chairman Ralph LaRossa said in a statement. “As Choose New Jersey makes the case to businesses around the world that New Jersey is the best place to do business, we believe that Wes’ extensive experience in foreign relations, international trade, investment, and business development will be invaluable in advancing our organization’s mission.”
As a diplomat, Mathews worked at American consulates and embassies in India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Germany, and also spent a year establishing the Office of International Trade and Investment at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
“As we rebuild and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to share New Jersey’s story of innovation and advance the state’s presence in global commerce and industry,” Gov. and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy said. “Wesley Mathews’ experience as an American diplomat, with New Jersey state government, and in the private sector will be instrumental in bringing new businesses and jobs to our state.”
Lozano, the outgoing president, first joined Choose NJ in 2018, after Murphy chose to oust Christie appointee Michele Brown; Brown went on to serve as executive director of Christie’s public policy think tank.