Brown, Hayes Leaving Beshear Administration

Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown and Interim Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes are leaving the Beshear administration. Governor Andy Beshear announced at a Thursday news conference who will replace both men. State Budget Director John Hicks will keep that position and serve as executive cabinet secretary.

Brown leaves state government after 14-plus years to join Simmons College of Kentucky. Brown called the new position a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “I can think of no better use of my experience and training than to help to prepare the careers of the young students at our only private HBCU,” Brown said.

Hayes is retiring after serving 20 years in state government. Governor Beshear named Jeff Noel as the new secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development.

Noel is corporate vice president of communications and public affairs at Whirlpool Corporation. He previously served as vice chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Economic Development Foundation president. Noel previously served in multiple executive director roles within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. He has also served as director of government affairs for Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation and as a state executive assistant and legislative aide to U.S. Senator Wendell Ford.