MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — Local officials are reacting after Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday that Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is stepping down.

The governor’s office said that Canfield, who has headed up the Alabama Department of Commerce for 12 years, will step down at the end of the year.

During his tenure, Canfield reorganized the then-named Alabama Development Office in 2011 to the Department of Commerce. Alabama also launched its first-ever strategic economic plan and established new records in international exports, capital investment and job creation while he was in office.

“Throughout my time as governor, we have proudly solidified Alabama as a top state for doing business, and no doubt, Greg has been a key part of that success. Together, we have secured more than $42 billion in new investments in our state, which has created 78,000 good-paying jobs,” Gov. Ivey said. “Greg will go down as one of Alabama’s best economic development heads, and he will be noted for projects like Mazda Toyota and credited for branding the Made in Alabama name worldwide. I will forever be grateful for all that Greg has accomplished for our state, and I know he will continue having great success in his career.”

The Governor also announced her plan to appoint Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Chief Economic Development Officer Ellen McNair as Canfield’s successor.

Local officials took this opportunity to highlight the contributions that Canfield has made in North Alabama and the state in general when speaking to News 19 on Friday.

Madison County Commission Chairman and Former Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon said he and Canfield entered the legislature together and have been friends for several years.

“Secretary Canfield has done tremendous work state-wide,” the chairman said.

McCutcheon says Canfield has always put a focus on attracting economic development opportunities to rural Alabama, particularly in the Black Belt and Wiregrass areas of the state. He adds that Canfield has also always been a great partner for recruitment to North Alabama.

“He has treated us with respect and been there when we called,” McCutcheon said. “We are going to miss him, no doubt about that. He was just a fair person.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Canfield has been a key part of economic development in Huntsville.

“Greg Canfield has been an important part of the formula of Huntsville’s success,” The mayor said. “Through Mazda-Toyota, Polaris and many other projects, Secretary Canfield has been there to champion our community. More recently, he served as our economic development lead on an industry trip in Japan, and he was in Huntsville this week to help open the expanded Navistar plant. We will miss his leadership and wish him well.”

Limestone County Economic Development Association President and CEO Bethany Shockney said Canfield has made a great impact on Limestone County and positioned Alabama for success.

“Secretary Greg Canfield will be greatly missed as the Secretary of Commerce,” she said. “He has done so much for Limestone County and the State of Alabama. Secretary Canfield positioned Alabama as a frontrunner in all things economic development from a national and international perspective.” 

Canfield says he is proud to have served the state and expressed his confidence in McNair taking over the office.

“I am proud to have been a part of Governor Ivey’s cabinet, and I am proud of the team of professionals we have assembled at Commerce. I am more confident than ever that Alabama is poised for a robust era of economic expansion that will transform the trajectories of communities and families across the state,” Canfield said. “I am honored to have made a contribution to the effort to improve Alabama’s future, and I know that the momentum we’ve built will continue to grow in the capable hands of Ellen McNair.”

McNair will take over the post, effective January 1, 2024.