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Derek Miller is departing as chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert to become the new president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah, an organization that seeks to boost foreign business with the state.
"The governor has a vision that the state of Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination," Miller said. "I am grateful today for this opportunity to continue to advance the governor's vision and expand even further our horizons."
Herbert said at a press conference that Miller is a perfect choice to lead efforts to create more international opportunities for Utah businesses.
In today's global marketplace, top-level performance is more important than ever, Herbert said. "Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside the borders of the United States. So that means there is tremendous opportunity out there for us."
Miller has been Herbert's most trusted adviser during his time in office. He became the chief of staff in December 2010, after serving as deputy director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. He will replace Lew Cramer at World Trade Center Utah, who left the organization late last year.
While working for the state, Miller "has experience in helping businesses grow and expand in Utah, and to expand their operations overseas. He has helped convince companies to relocate and come to Utah creating new jobs here for our economy," said Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank, and chairman of World Trade Center Utah.
Herbert said Miller has agreed to stay with him for a few weeks while he seeks a replacement. "I already do have a short list of people who I am thinking about and am talking to," Herbert said. "I hope to be able to make that decision in the next two or three weeks."
The move is the latest in a series of high-level departures that have transformed the governor's staff in recent months. Lt. Gov. Greg Bell resigned several months ago, and Miller was widely considered a front-runner to take Bell's place, but Herbert chose state Rep. Spencer Cox.
Herbert's deputy chief of staff Ally Isom, policy director Robert Spendlove and education adviser Christine Kearl have also left within the past few months. Herbert also appointed his general counsel to the state appeals court in October.
Miller had previously worked at the Utah Division of Real Estate, was a staffer for the U.S. House Transportation Committee, and worked for accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He earned a joint law degree and master of public administration from Brigham Young University.