HELENA – Doug Mitchell, a former top administrator in the state, federal and nonprofit sectors and a private business owner, will take over Monday as deputy director of the Montana Department of Commerce, Director Meg O’Leary said Friday.

Mitchell will succeed Andy Poole, the former long-term deputy director.

In August, O’Leary assigned Poole to focus full time on his other job as administrator of the department’s Business Resources Division, creating the opening for deputy director. Poole had held both jobs for a number of years.

O’Leary said she selected Mitchell from a field of more than 30 applicants to become deputy of the 207-employee department. His salary will be $92,500 a year.

It is “state government’s great fortune” to have Mitchell working for the department, O’Leary said.

“He has the strongest skill set to take us into the new future vision of the Department of Commerce,” the director said. “He’s been around state government quite a bit. He’s been around Montana in the private and public sector. He has a wide network of contacts.”

Mitchell is “really good at details and really strong at day-to-day operations,” she said.

He has been managing director of the Montana Land Reliance since 2009, responsible as part of the team overseeing the day-to-day management of the second-largest accredited land trust in the United States.

He previously was president of the Mitchell Group, his statewide strategic communications firm in Helena that worked for public policy solutions for corporate, government and nonprofit clients from 1999 to 2008.

He was Montana chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Max Baucus from 1995 to 1999, and chief deputy secretary of state for Secretary of State Mike Cooney from 1988 to 1995.

Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

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