Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the launch of the succession planning process for the state’s next Chief Operating Officer, thanking current COO Jodi Uecker for her service as she transitions toward retirement in June.
“We are tremendously grateful to Jodi for giving her leadership, time and energy to the state of North Dakota over the past two years,” Burgum said. “Chief Operating Officer was a new position to our state and the Governor’s Office, and Jodi has blazed a trail for our administration and for the future of North Dakota. Her contributions as a leader and sounding board for cabinet members and as a champion for collaboration across cabinet agencies has been invaluable. Great leaders do a great job at succession planning, and Jodi’s long lead time demonstrates her commitment to ensuring a smooth leadership transition.”
The succession planning process is being initiated today, as it’s anticipated the recruitment, hiring and transition to the next COO will take several months. Uecker will continue to serve as COO through June 30, 2019. The position will be posted, and Uecker will help lead a search. Cabinet leaders were informed of the succession planning process on Friday.
The day after his election in November 2016, Burgum announced Uecker as chair of his transition team and ultimately appointed her as COO in place of the traditional chief of staff position, bringing a greater focus on improving processes, spurring innovation and reinventing the delivery of state government services for the 21st century. As a former senior executive in the private sector, Uecker brought a strong background in technology, strategy development and building culture within global organizations.
As COO, Uecker has spearheaded the administration’s leadership development efforts over the past two years, guiding the recruitment and retention of cabinet leaders, building executive branch leadership capacity and succession planning through Extended Cabinet Leadership meetings and leading JEL (Judicial, Executive, Legislative) meetings to foster greater collaboration between the three branches of government. The Hettinger native also was instrumental in hiring and creating the role of the state’s first chief people officer.
Uecker also played a key role in development of the administration’s five strategic initiatives: reinventing government, transforming education, tribal partnerships, the Main Street Initiative and behavioral health and addiction.
“Serving the citizens of North Dakota as part of this high-performing administration has been a great experience,” Uecker said. “This is a bittersweet decision, as I look forward to spending additional time with family but will miss the daily interaction with our hardworking, dedicated cabinet leaders and team members as they strive to provide the best services possible to empower people, improve lives and inspire success.”