Charlie Weaver will retire this summer as CEO of the Minnesota Business Partnership after 20 years at one of the state’s most important business leadership groups.
Weaver joined a powerful coalition of business CEOs and university executives in 2003 as a state legislator, chief of staff to former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and state commissioner of public safety under former Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Business partnership members include all 16 of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies, including 3M, United Health, Best Buy, Target, Medtronic, Mayo Clinic, Health Partners and Ecolab.
Known for his quick wit and ability to work with politicians from both sides of the aisle, he will remain in the job until a successor is found, a process expected to be completed between June and September, he said. .
Rumors circulated early last fall that the Anoka resident might be considering retirement. But Weaver, who recently turned 65, said nothing was certain at the time and he had no plans to announce anything in the next six months.
This persistent rumor became fodder for a spoof video that aired at the partnership’s annual dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center in October. The video, which stars Weaver himself working in a haunted house, pokes fun at the theme that the other co-leaders are unable to get rid of Weaver, despite several grueling attempts.
During an interview Wednesday, Weaver said “it’s time to take a breather” from the top job at the partnership, whose members include 109 CEOs and employ nearly 500,000 Minnesotans.
“They’re the people I miss the most. They’re amazing and they’re focused on the right things,” rightly caring about issues like improving education, closing the achievement gap for children of color, and making sure Minnesota remains a viable state. Fortune 500 businesses and jobs, Weaver said.
“I am fortunate to work with friends from both sides of the aisle who share the goal of making Minnesota a great place to live, work and raise a family,” he said. “To work on things you care about with people you love and respect — and have a little fun along the way — it doesn’t get any better.”
General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening credited Weaver for his sense of humor as a champion for Minnesota employers and for leaving a legacy of helping businesses navigate the complexities of policy development and public engagement.
“Among his accomplishments, Charlie has identified strategies for business leaders to understand and be more effective in our rapidly changing environment,” Harmening said.
But “MBP’s work is always difficult, but Charlie doesn’t take himself too seriously, his behavior makes him more effective. Thanks to Charlie for his many contributions to help us build a better environment for the business community.”