John Rounsaville, appointed by Gov. Tate Reeves in January to lead the Mississippi Development Authority, is resigning effective Aug. 31, Reeves’ office announced in a short press release late Friday afternoon.

Reeves in the statement thanked Rounsaville for his service and said, “I wish John the best in his future endeavors.” The release said details regarding the search process will be announced in coming weeks.

Rounsaville in a statement in the press release said: “It has been a tremendous honor to serve Mississippi under the leadership of Governor Reeves. I am confident MDA is on a strong trajectory … With a young family and a new baby born last year, my wife and I believe it is time to pursue a new opportunity that will enable me to focus more on my family and spend less time traveling.”

Reeves had appointed Rounsaville as permanent director in mid-January after he had served as interim since May of 2020.

MDA is the state’s lead economic and community development agency, and employs about 300 people. It works to recruit new businesses to the state and retain and expand existing industry and manages the state’s energy programs. MDA also promotes Mississippi as a tourism destination.

Rounsaville had replaced Glenn McCullough Jr., who served as MDA director under former Gov. Phil Bryant from 2015 through January of 2020.

Rounsaville previously served as state director for USDA Rural Development for the President Trump administration, a post he also held from 2006 to 2008 under President George W. Bush. Rounsaville served as deputy chief of staff and other roles for former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and as policy adviser to former Gov. Haley Barbour.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.