Jan Brewer
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Governor Jan Brewer today announced directorship changes at the Arizona State Land Department and Arizona Department of Insurance.

Governor Brewer has named Vanessa Hickman the new Land Commissioner for the Arizona State Land Department, replacing outgoing Commissioner Maria Baier. Ms. Hickman has served the Land Department as Deputy Commissioner since 2009. Previously, she was Deputy General Counsel to Governor Brewer (2009), and worked in private practice for the law firms of Withey Morris; Wilenchik & Bartness; and Wilcox & Wilcox.

“Vanessa is an experienced and talented real estate lawyer, and is a natural choice for this important role in my administration,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “I have the utmost confidence she will continue to serve the people of Arizona with great distinction in her new position.”

Ms. Baier recently announced she is departing the Land Department in order to accept a position as CEO of the Sonoran Institute.

Ms. Baier has served the State of Arizona as Land Commissioner since June 2009. During her tenure, she was responsible for the oversight of more than 9 million acres of state trust land, and led the Department’s auction of parcels in order to generate an estimated $560 million for the Trust – with public education as the single largest beneficiary. Ms. Baier also played a lead role in bringing renewable energy projects to the state, including implementing Arizona’s first renewable-energy mapping system and helping secure large-scale solar and wind projects.

“Maria has been a wonderful asset to my administration through her leadership of the Arizona State Land Department,” said Governor Brewer. “She has such a wealth of public policy experience, so I’m glad she will continue to positively impact the way in which Arizona grows and develops via her important work at the Sonoran Institute. I wish her all the best.”

The leadership transition for the Land Department is effective November 29, 2012.

Governor Brewer also today announced that Gerrie Marks will continue as Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance. Ms. Marks has led the Department as Acting Director since June 2012.

“Gerrie has played a critical role in the guidance and leadership of the Department of Insurance, and I’m confident she’ll continue to serve the citizens of Arizona well,” said Governor Brewer. “Her legal expertise, knowledge of the Department and familiarity with the challenges facing Arizona insurers and consumers leave her well-suited to serve the State of Arizona in this capacity.”

As Director of the Department of Insurance, Ms. Marks is charged with promoting the insurance marketplace in Arizona by monitoring the financial security of insurers and protecting consumers. Prior to this spring, she had served as the agency’s Deputy Director since 2003 – and focused on regulatory affairs for the Department beginning in 1997. Earlier, she was Assistant Attorney General for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (1992-1997); worked in private practice for Platt & Westby (1990-1992); and served as a law clerk and bailiff for Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Myers (1989-1990).

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