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PR- 099-06
April 4, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today named Leslie Koch as President of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC). GIPEC is charged with the redevelopment of the 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor.  Prior to the appointment, Leslie Koch was the Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools, the not-for-profit organization affiliated with the New York City Department of Education.  On February 15th, the Mayor and Governor announced a Request for Proposals for visionary ideas to redevelop and preserve Governors Island, and committed an additional $60 million, for a total of more than $120 million, to operate Governors Island and to maintain its historic structures and infrastructure.

"Leslie Koch brings to Governors Island a strong track record for increasing private sector support for public initiatives," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Under her leadership, I am confident that we will develop a compelling partnership vision and strategy to realize Governors Islands' extraordinary potential to become a world-renowned destination."

"With its beautiful waterfront, dramatic parks and abundant public space, Governors Island will be a world-class destination for future generations from around the world," said Governor Pataki.  "New York's historic Governors Island and the surrounding Lower Manhattan area is a priority for our City and State, and Leslie Koch is the right person to bring together public and private resources to transform and utilize this national treasure."

"Ten months ago, we asked Paul Kelly to temporarily leave the City's Economic Development Corporation to become the Interim President of GIPEC.  Paul was chosen because of his experience in complex development projects and his familiarity with the Island, as he had been the City's lead attorney for its acquisition in 2003.  Paul did an excellent job refocusing the corporation, jumpstarting the planning process, and issuing the RFP, and as planned, he is now returning to EDC where he will again assist the City in other complex initiatives," said GIPEC Chairman and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff.  "We believe Leslie Koch is the right leader to take over where Paul has left off, and move Governors Island to the next stage and create a specific, concrete development program that maximizes public and private investment."

"Leslie Koch is the perfect choice. Her background and experience make her extraordinarily well suited for this position. Leslie has the right blend of private sector and public service to make her an effective and results-oriented president of GIPEC," said Empire State Development Chairman Charles Gargano. "Her leadership is exactly what GIPEC needs to move forward toward making Governor Pataki's and Mayor Bloomberg's vision a reality. Leslie is the right person at the right time."

"Governors Island represents a tremendous opportunity and a unique challenge," said GIPEC Vice-Chairman Mallory Factor.  "With her background in government, philanthropy, and business I'm confident that Leslie Koch is the right person to lead GIPEC into its important next phase."

"In a City filled with ambitious and exciting projects, Governors Island is unique," said Koch.  "Its location and spectacular setting create a sense of unlimited possibility.  I'm looking forward to working with the City and State, the National Park Service, the talented staff at GIPEC, the elected officials and civic leaders who care about the Island and private sector partners to realize a development program that meets the varied objectives for Governors Island.  I want to thank the Governor, the Mayor, and the GIPEC Board for their confidence."

During Koch's tenure as CEO of the Fund for Public Schools, the Fund raised more than $150 million in private funding for system-wide education reform initiatives and school-based programs. Koch also developed partnerships with corporations including the AOL Concert for the Schools and Shop 4 Class.  Leslie Koch began her career in the public sector at the City's Human Resources Administration.  She subsequently served as an executive with Microsoft Corporation from 1989 to 1996, where she was responsible for the development and marketing of several flagship products.  She has also served as a consultant and board member for a variety of Seattle-based not-for-profit organizations.  Koch graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a B.A. in history and received a Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.  Koch was raised on the Upper West Side and currently lives in Boerum Hill with her husband, Douglas Gray.

Governors Island sits roughly 800 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan and half that distance from the Brooklyn waterfront. Owned by New York State until 1800, the island was conveyed to the federal government through several transactions from 1800 to 1903 and was subsequently occupied and managed by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard.  In 1995, as part of a national cost cutting measure at the federal level, the U.S. Coast Guard closed its facilities on the Island and all personnel were relocated the following year. The northern portion of the island has been designated a National Historic Landmark as well as a New York City Historic District.  Twenty-two acres remain under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  In addition, five buildings in this historic district are on the National Register of Historic Places.

GIPEC is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and ongoing operations for 150 acres of Governors Island.  A subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, GIPEC is overseen by a Board of Directors appointed equally by the Governor and Mayor of New York.  For more information, visit


Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Lynn Krogh (Governor)   (212) 681-4640

Yvette DeBow (GIPEC)   (212) 440-2205

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