NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State finance chief Mark Emkes is retiring after presiding over three annual spending plans for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.
Emkes, formerly the CEO of Nashville-based tiremaker Bridgestone Americas, was one of Haslam’s highest-profile Cabinet choices following the 2010 election.
As Department of Finance and Administration commissioner, the 60-year-old Emkes has been responsible for budget matters and managing the state’s day-to-day finances.
Emkes’ retirement comes following Haslam’s decision to forgo — at least for the time being — $1.4 billion in federal money in the upcoming budget year for Medicaid expansion while pursuing a special arrangement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Emkes will be the third Haslam Cabinet member to leave this year, after Children’s Services Commissioner Kate O’Day and Labor Commissioner Karla Davis.
Note: News release below.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes will be leaving the administration at the end of May to enjoy retirement and spend more time with his wife in her home country of Spain.
“I am grateful to Mark for the job he’s done as the state’s chief financial officer during the past two and a half years,” Haslam said. “We’ve presented three responsible, thoughtful and strategic budgets, and he has played a significant role in those efforts.
“Mark has brought a fresh perspective to state government with a focus on running it like a business,” Haslam continued. “He has overseen our customer-focused government initiatives and lean management training to help shift our culture to a results-oriented, customer-service organization. I most appreciate his willingness to mentor and develop talented people in state government.”
Before joining the Haslam administration, Emkes, 60, spent his entire professional career at Bridgestone Americas, working his way up from a trainee to chairman, chief executive officer and president before retiring in February 2010 after 33 years at the company.
“I will always be grateful to Gov. Haslam for giving me the opportunity to serve as commissioner of Finance and Administration,” Emkes said. “It has been a unique and once in a lifetime experience. Having had the chance to participate on a team that helped make government more effective and efficient is truly a great feeling.”
He has lived in Nashville since 2000 and serves on several boards of directors in Middle Tennessee. He is past president of the Middle Tennessee Boy Scout Council and served as chairman of the American Heart Association’s 2010 Nashville Heart Walk. He is also a member of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer, Tennessee Chapter.
Emkes and his wife, Conchi, have a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Astrid. They are members of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood.
The commissioner’s last day will be May 31. The governor has begun a search for his replacement.