High Profile: Meet Eric Gertler, An Economic Visionary

Eric Gertler
Eric Gertler

Eric Gertler is a media mogul and economic development visionary. To those in government, politics, or news, he needs no introduction. The executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News & World Report and the former CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, New York State’s principal agency for economic development, Gertler through his leadership has had an impact on our region, state and nation for the past several decades.

Gertler came to the United States from his hometown of Montreal to pursue his undergraduate degree at the esteemed Brown University. He would later become a U.S. citizen, as one of the first groups to be naturalized after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. For the past 20 years, he has called New York City home.

During Gertler’s life in business, he has held various roles at the intersection of technology, data and media, helping companies and corporations advance cutting-edge technologies that change our world. A lawyer by trade, Gertler now leads U.S. News & World Report, overseeing all editorial and business operations at an all-digital publication where over 500 million readers annually ingest the most important breaking news and consumer information across the globe.

In the ever-changing world of media, trust in the news and the source it comes from has never been more important. Gertler and those working at U.S. News & World Report view their journalism as a public service, whose “mission driven” efforts facilitate informed decisions by its readers.

“We are laser focused on helping consumers make the right decisions in their lives, particularly in key transition areas like going to college or finding a job or selecting the right hospital. How we differ from other media companies is that we understand that consumers are inundated with lots of information and we try to clarify and simplify all of that information in a manner that helps our consumers make the best decisions for themselves,” Gertler says.

“I do believe that the media business is a public trust where we need to ensure that we are providing fact-based, data-supported journalism that has the highest level of trust and credibility for our audience,” Gertler continues.

Outside of the media landscape, some of our state’s most powerful have entrusted Gertler with leadership positions that will shape the Empire State of tomorrow. In 2019, the governor tapped Gertler as the president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, a position he held through July 2021. As part of those responsibilities, he also served as the governor’s Regional Chair for Long Island’s COVID-19 response.

At the helm of the state’s principal economic development agency, Gertler had extraordinary success in his leadership role. The decisions that Gertler made during his tenure continue to benefit New Yorkers’ lives and have contributed to the strong and vibrant economy of our state. Gertler says it was a privilege to serve in this capacity, helping the state navigate the unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even in the face of this adversity, though, Gertler helped New York continue on its path to progress, with marquee accomplishments including the completion of the beautiful new Moynihan Train Hall.

“My daily mission in the state government was both to support the goals of the administration to help people living in the state and to help to boost the economic well-being of New Yorkers while leveling the playing field for all,” he says. “To serve as president and CEO of Empire State Development was, in and of itself, a great privilege; and to be able to serve the people of the great state of New York and make a difference in their lives was truly special. The most challenging part during my tenure was leading the agency through the Covid-19 pandemic, which obviously was both a health and economic crisis — and I was quite proud of all the work that the entire team performed in those most difficult of circumstances.”

He also touts Empire State Development’s implementation of programs that benefitted New York’s minority communities, small businesses and women-owned businesses, too — especially as they recovered from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Gertler’s tenure as president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation may have concluded, he remains steadfast in his pursuit to benefit lives all around the globe. The desire to improve the world around him, coupled with inspiring others to achieve greater things, remains his primary motivation, which is one of the many reasons he dedicates significant time to philanthropy, charity and advocacy.

Gertler holds various chairmanships and advisory board positions for a diverse group of interests, including but not limited to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Young Presidents’ Organization and the Council on Foreign Relations. Gertler is also a director of the Leadership Council for the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“I have been blessed to be able to devote a good amount of time, philanthropically, to many important issues but I have certainly relished the time I have devoted to bettering relations between the United States and Israel,” Gertler says.

Despite his vast work responsibilities, Gertler still finds time to visit the East End. He finds peace and relaxation through long bike rides and walks that often conclude with a dip in the ocean.

“I love spending time on the beaches and going for bike rides, of course, but I also love quiet time on the East End and tend to not frequent too many restaurants. We enjoy great family and friend time on the East End,” Gertler says.

Coming to the East End since the 1990s, Gertler has also visited the area in professional capacities. Mentioning the influential leaders that frequent eastern Suffolk County during its warmer months, Gertler says that business can get done here, too, minus the business suit.

“No doubt the Hamptons are a special place in New York where beauty and relaxation are juxtaposed with business and networking. There are lots of social events and now some important conferences that take place in the Hamptons during the month of August,” Gertler says, adding, “I do have to say that when I was at Empire State Development, that one of the unexpected benefits was driving throughout the great state of New York and seeing all of the beauty from the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes to the Mohawk Valley and, of course, to the sheer beauty in the East End of Long Island.”

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.

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