Jason El Koubi, assistant secretary with the Louisiana Economic Development department, was selected Friday as the president and CEO of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.
El Koubi will replace Rob Guidry, who is set to retire after 25 years of heading the Lafayette Chamber. El Koubi will take over as head of the organization in early September.
“I’m very excited about it,” El Koubi said. “It’s bittersweet. We love Baton Rouge and have lots of friends. But this is a great opportunity.”
El Koubi, 35, has been with LED since 2008, leading a variety of programs, including those related to economic competitiveness, small-business services, emergency response and entertainment industry development. Before becoming an assistant secretary, he was the LED director of state economic competitiveness.
Quentin Messer will become assistant LED secretary in September. Messer has been with the organization for about a year, serving as director of the state economic competitiveness group.
El Koubi came to LED from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, where he was policy director. El Koubi, who grew up in Leesville, earned a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from LSU and a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics.
Lafayette Chamber officials said they selected El Koubi after an eight-month national search that attracted more than 250 applicants.
Rob Eddy, chairman of the chamber board, said El Koubi has the qualifications to lobby for economic development in Lafayette and Acadiana.
“Along with his prior chamber staff experience and background in public policy and economic development, he has the personal attributes, skill sets, knowledge and enthusiasm that will be required for success in this important leadership role,” Eddy said.
Lafayette and Acadiana have a diverse, strong economic base with a lot of entrepreneurs and an authentic culture, El Koubi said.
“Lafayette is a major economic region of the state and a huge contributor to a healthy economy,” he said.
For the first few months on the job, El Koubi said he plans to meet with chamber board members and Acadiana business leaders to get a sense of where they want the organization to go.
“We want the chamber to be a vehicle for aspirations of the business community,” he said.
Stephen Moret, LED secretary, praised El Koubi as being “one of the most impressive people with whom I have worked” and having a wealth of knowledge about economic development and public policy. Moret was El Koubi’s boss at BRAC and at LED.
“Jason’s contributions played a significant role in LED being named one of the top 10 best-performing state economic development agencies in the U.S. for the last four years in a row,” Moret said. “We will all miss him very much at LED, but I know that he will continue to make major contributions to our state, Lafayette and Acadiana in this new role.”
Messer, El Koubi’s replacement, came to Louisiana with 17 years experience as a management consultant, corporate attorney and business executive. Messer earned a bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a law degree from Columbia Law School.
“Quentin has big shoes to fill, but we are confident he is up to the task,” Moret said.