Michael Hecht, CEO
As the Chief Executive of Greater New Orleans, Inc., Michael leads an organization whose mission falls broadly into two categories: business development – marketing the region to businesses – and product development – creating better conditions for business. The ultimate vision of GNO, Inc. is to make the Greater New Orleans region one of the best places in the country for both a business and a family.
Before being tapped by the area’s business community to lead GNO, Inc., Michael served as Director of Business Recovery Services for Louisiana Economic Development, where he led the federally-funded $232M Small Business Recovery Program. Designed to revitalize the independent and small business sector devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Recovery Program helped over 5,000 Louisiana businesses with grants, loans and technical assistance.
Prior to repatriating to Louisiana, Michael worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City. As Assistant Commissioner for NYC Business Solutions, Michael designed and ran a nationally-recognized initiative to help the 200,000+ small businesses of New York City prosper and grow.
Michael also brings the experience of starting and managing his own business, having founded a conglomerate of restaurant ventures in San Francisco, including the award-winning “Foreign Cinema,” which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.
In addition to his public and private ventures, Michael also has experience in the nonprofit sector, where he was Director of Business Development for the Food Bank for New York City, the largest of its kind in the country. Michael began his career as a strategic management consultant to Fortune 100 multinationals including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and IBM, in Europe, North America and Australia.
Michael holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a member of the Public Management Program, and an undergraduate degree in Race Relations from Yale University, magna cum laude. He is a member of Coro Leadership New York, and has lectured nationally and internationally on entrepreneurship and economic development.
Recently Michael has been recognized as one of the 25 “Most Powerful” People in the 10/12 Corridor, a New Orleans Living “Person to Watch,” and a Junior Achievement “Rising Star.”