Kurt Zellers, former state lawmaker, named next CEO of Minnesota Business Partnership

A group that advocates on behalf of Minnesota’s biggest businesses has chosen a former state lawmaker as its next leader.

The Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP) announced Kurt Zellers as its next CEO on Wednesday.

Zellers, who served in the state legislature from 2003 to 2014 and as speaker of the Minnesota House in the 2011-12 session, currently works for a public relations firm in St. Paul. He’s also served as a political analyst on KSTP’s “At Issue” for the past several years.

He’ll replace Charlie Weaver, MBP’s current executive director, on Sept. 1.

Weaver is retiring after 20 years of leading the organization, MBP says.

The organization says it picked Zellers after a “robust search process.”

“I am humbled to be selected to lead the Minnesota Business Partnership,” Zellers said in a statement. “The Partnership’s member companies and their employees are the lifeblood of Minnesota’s economy. Partnership members employ more than 500,000 Minnesotans, pay billions in taxes, and support our schools, arts, and cultural institutions. I come to this role with a problem solving, bipartisan, policy-first mindset. I am committed to working with business leaders and policymakers from across the political spectrum to ensure Minnesota is a state where businesses can start, grow, and flourish.”

MBP says its mission is to “maintain a high quality of life for all Minnesotans by ensuring that the state’s economy remains strong and globally competitive.” It is comprised of more than 100 CEOs and top executives from some of the state’s biggest companies.

“Throughout his career, Kurt adopted a solutions-first mindset and earned the respect of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. I am confident that he will drive constructive partnership between elected officials and the Minnesota business community to develop sound solutions for business growth to strengthen Minnesota,” Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills as well as the chairman of MBP, said.