Charlie Weaver retiring from Minnesota Business Partnership after 20 years – Star Tribune

Charlie Weaver will retire this summer as the chief executive of the Minnesota Business Partnership after 20 years at the helm of one the state’s most important business leadership groups.

Weaver joined the powerful coalition of business CEOs and university executives in 2003 after stints as a state legislator, chief of staff for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and as the state’s public safety commissioner under former Gov. Jesse Ventura.

The Business Partnership’s members include all 16 of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies, including 3M, United Health, Best Buy, Target, Medtronic, Mayo Clinic, Health Partners and Ecolab.

The affable business leader known for his quick wit and ability to work with politicians on both side of the aisle will remain on the job until a successor is found and announced, a process that is expected to be finalized probably between June or September, he said.

Rumors circulated early last fall that the Anoka resident might be considering retiring . But Weaver, who had recently turned 65, said at the time that nothing had been decided and he had no plans to announce anything within the next six months.

The persistent rumors became fodder for a spoof video shown at the partnership’s annual dinner at the Minneapolis Convention Center in October. Starring Weaver himself working his way through a haunted house, the video produced chuckles with the theme that the other partnership leaders just couldn’t get rid of Weaver despite several villainous attempts.

During an interview Wednesday, Weaver said it was time “to take a breath” from the top job at the partnership, whose member’s include 109 chief executives and employ nearly 500,000 Minnesotans.

“What I will miss the most are the people. They are amazing and focus on the right things” such as really caring about issues like improving education, narrowing the achievement gap for kids of color and ensuring Minnesota remains a state that can retain an attract Fortune 500 commerce and jobs, Weaver said.

“I’ve been lucky to have collaborated with friends on 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 admire and respect – and have some fun along the way – it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Partnership Chair Jeff Harmening, who is CEO of General Mills, praised Weaver for his sense of humor, for being a champion for Minnesota employers and leaving a legacy of helping the businesses navigate the complexities of policy development and public engagement.

“Among his accomplishments, Charlie helped business leaders understand our rapidly changing environment and identified strategies to be more effective,” Harmening said.

But he added that “while the work of MBP has always been serious, Charlie never takes himself too seriously, a trait that only made him even more effective. The business community is grateful to Charlie for his many contributions to help us build a better state.”