Michael Hecht is President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., the economic development organization for southeast Louisiana. GNO, Inc.'s mission falls broadly into two categories: business development – attracting and growing businesses – and product development – creating better business conditions. Under Michael's leadership, GNO, Inc. was recently named the #2 economic development organization in the United States by Business Facilitiesmagazine.
Before coming to GNO, Inc. Michael led the quarter-billion dollar Katrina Small Business Recovery Program for the State of Louisiana. While with the State, Michael also established the $90 million Louisiana Revolving Loan Fund, the first of its kind in the nation.
In the years following 9/11, Michael worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City as an Assistant Commissioner. Michael also served as inaugural Director of Business Development for the Food Bank for New York City, the largest in the country.
Michael's entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding a conglomerate of restaurant ventures, including “Foreign Cinema,” named Restaurant of the Year 2000 in San Francisco. He began his career as a strategic management consultant.
Michael holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a member of the Public Management Program, and an undergraduate degree from Yale University, magna cum laude.
Recently Michael has been recognized as “One of the 25 Most Powerful People in the 10/12 Corridor,” a New Orleans “Innovator of the Year,” and one of “Ten People Who Made a Difference” in the South.
With family roots in Louisiana back to the 1830s, Michael now lives in New Orleans with his wife, Marlene, an ESL professor at Delgado, and his two sons, Dexter and Kaj ("Kī").