After long wait, Gov. DeSantis taps budget chief Chris Spencer to helm SBA
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/7/23-Chris Spencer, director of policy & budget for Gov. Ron DeSantis, talks about the Governor’s proposed budget for 2023-24 during the House Appropriations Committee, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

If approved by the Cabinet next week, Spencer would end a 30-month period for the SBA without a permanent Executive Director.

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to place Chris Spencer, who is currently serving as his Director of Policy and Budget, as the next Executive Director of the State Board of Administration (SBA), which manages the state’s investment funds.

The move comes two and a half years after the departure of Ash Williams, the previous head of the SBA, who left on Sept. 30, 2021, to be Vice President at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Lamar Taylor, the SBA’s Chief Operating Officer, has served as Interim Executive Director since then. Taylor is slated to continue as the SBA’s Chief Investment Officer, according to a press release from DeSantis’ Office.

During a Cabinet meeting in January 2023, the search was opened for a permanent Executive Director at the SBA, with an initial 30-day window to accept applications. But the search stretched on for more than a year.

The SBA has $250.3 billion in assets that it manages, with the main fund as the Florida Retirement System, which held $260 billion at the end of 2023. It also oversees the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, or Cat Fund, which acts as a reinsurance fund for insurers.

Spencer has served as DeSantis’ budget chief since he took office in 2019, organizing the annual budget recommendations, overseeing efforts to review veto lists and managing DeSantis’ plan to reduce state debt by 25%.

He previously served as a legislative assistant to former Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, and to former Rep. Clay Ingram, a Pensacola Republican. Spencer served a stint at the GrayRobinson lobbying firm before joining DeSantis’ transition team as an economics policy advisor ahead of DeSantis taking office in January 2019.

Spencer has degrees in economics, international affairs and political science from Florida State University.

The Cabinet, comprised of Attorney General Ashley Moody, Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, will consider the nomination, along with DeSantis, and its next meeting on Tuesday.

Gray Rohrer


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