O'Malley to name economic development chief

January 30, 2009|By Laura Smitherman | Laura Smitherman,laura.smitherman@baltsun.com

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Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to announce today the appointment of Christian Johansson, a Harvard University-educated entrepreneur who has run a Baltimore-based business and government alliance, as the state secretary of business and economic development.

Johansson, who must be confirmed by the Senate, would replace David W. Edgerley, who resigned in December to pursue a career in the private sector or education. O'Malley has sought to reorganize the Department of Business and Economic Development, a process that emphasized efforts for the biotechnology industry and international trade and consolidated some functions.

In his latest endeavor, Johansson started Continental Equity, a private equity firm focused on the minority business community. Before that, he headed the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, a public-private partnership among business, government and educational institutions to market the region as desirable for new business and investment.

J. Thomas "Tom" Sadowski, the president and CEO of the alliance, said Johansson has a "keen business focus."

"He lives here in Baltimore and is very passionate about the region and the fortunes of the state," said Sadowski, adding that they have recently talked about the economic challenges the state must confront.

Johansson did not return calls seeking comment.

In the 1990s, Johansson founded Dola Health Systems, a medical device company with operations in Baltimore and Sweden, and software company Inka.net, where he served as CEO. He also has worked as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and the Sag Harbor Group. He has been named by the Baltimore Business Journal as a top business leader under 40 years old and has served on the board of the Hippodrome Theatre.

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