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Spencer P. Eccles announced Thursday he is departing as executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development to help form a new private investment company.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Eccles' "leadership has helped Utah be at the forefront in bringing the nation out of one of the most devastating economic recessions this country has ever seen."

He noted that during Eccles' five-year tenure, Utah's unemployment rate decreased from over 8 percent to 3.8 percent, and the job growth rate has risen to 2.9 percent.

"He has succeeded in every aspect of the post, fostering the economic growth and development that is the 'rising tide that lifts all boats,'" Herbert said.

Eccles credited his team.

"I've been fortunate to work with what I believe is the greatest economic development team in the country, who have, at every turn, placed the good of their fellow Utahns above themselves," he said.

Eccles is forming a private investment company, The Cynosure Group, with partners Randal K. Quarles and Bud Scruggs. Quarles was the under secretary of the treasury in the George W. Bush administration, and Scruggs was a senior executive at Leucadia National Corp. and a chief of staff to former Gov. Norm Bangerter.

A press release from the new company said it will bring together the resources of a number of families from around the country, "including the Eccles family of Salt Lake City, to make long-term equity investments in private companies across a range of industries."

It said the name Cynosure commemorates the ship that brought David Eccles and his family to America in 1863 from Scotland. He went on to become one of the West's most successful industrialists and investors.

"Our family has a 150-year history of taking influential minority positions in companies with strong growth prospects and helping those companies become leaders in their industries," Spencer Eccles said, and it looks "forward to building on that legacy with Cynosure."

Quarles said, "Cynosure will invest in small and mid-size firms that have strong management and, typically, good cash flow." It hopes to join with other investors to help those companies grow.

Scruggs said the time was right for the venture.

"We have discussed establishing this type of firm for several years. The timing has finally come together with Randy's return from Washington, D.C.; Spencer's fulfillment of his term in public service; and my return from Australia." —

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