The U.S. Small Business Administration has a new temporary head in the game of musical chairs that is developing at its helm.
Jeanne Hulit, the SBA's associate administrator in the Office of Capital Access, will lead the U.S. federal small-business office when Karen Mills leaves her post at the end of this month, according to a note emailed by Mills to SBA staff today.
"Thanks to her accomplishments at SBA and in the private sector, Jeanne brings extensive knowledge and a unique understanding of the agency and its mission to her new position. Under her leadership, the agency and America's 28 million small businesses will be in good hands," says Mills in the email, which was shared with Entrepreneur.com.
Over the past four years, Hulit has served as a regional administrator for the SBA overseeing six states in the Northeast and then she took over as head of the SBA's Office of Capital Access, the agency in charge of assisting small businesses in getting access to loans. During the time Hulit lead the Office of Capital Access, the SBA has had two years of record lending, according to Mills's note.
Mills spoke highly of Hulit's work. "At headquarters, Jeanne has led the charge to streamline and simplify SBA's loan programs and expand access to our lending programs," says Mills in her letter. Before working at the SBA, Hulit worked in the private banking sector for 18 years. Hulit was also the deputy director of the international division at the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
At least one trade organization was pleased with the appointment. "As a former small business banker and community lender, Jeanne understands how to get loans delivered to Main Street. We are very pleased that the important reforms underway will continue to have a champion at the top of the agency," says National Association of Development Companies President and CEO Beth Solomon, in a statement. NADCO is the trade organization representing SBA lenders.
Hulit will serve as the interim head of the SBA between when Mills leaves at the end of August and when a new, permanent chief is named by President Obama. The SBA says it has no update on who or when that person will be named but says it is working with the White House to fill the roll.
Mills announced her departure in February and, at the time, said she would stay on until the president had appointed the next chief. However, in July, Mills went back on her initial promise, saying she would depart at the end of August to take up work on economic issues surrounding entrepreneurship at both Harvard Business School and Harvard's Kennedy School.
While there is no consensus as to who will take Mills's place on a permanent basis, industry watchers have mentioned several possible contenders including White House staffer Don Graves, Small Business Finance CEO Kurt Chilcott and Judy Canales, the state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency in Texas.