Small Business Administration Chief Karen Mills Is Out in August

Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills is leaving the agency at the end of next month to take on roles at Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Washington Post reported earlier today. When she announced her resignation in February, Mills said she would remain at the agency until her replacement had been confirmed by the Senate. The White House has yet to nominate anyone for the post.

“Yesterday, on a conference call with staff, Administrator Mills announced she will be leaving her role as Administrator at the end of August,” SBA Press Secretary Emily Cain wrote in an e-mail. “The agency is working closely with the White House on transition plans and on the appointment of a successor.”

Mills, a former venture capitalist, took charge of the SBA in 2009. The White House made the job a Cabinet-level position in JanuarySam Graves2012.

In February, Nick Leiber reported that Mills was leaving the agency on a positive note:

“Over the last four years, [Mills] said, the SBA supported more than $106 billion in lending to more than 193,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs, including two record years of delivering more than $30 billion in loan guarantees. When she inherited it, the agency had languished under the George W. Bush administration, which cut its funding by about 26 percent since 2001 and sliced staff by 18 percent since 2003, according to our story at the time of her Senate confirmation.”

John Tozzi wrote that “imminent federal spending cuts, diminished bank lending to small businesses, and frustration from employers that will soon be required to offer workers health insurance” are among the challenges facing Mills’s successor.

“It’s very disappointing that the administration has taken so long to find a replacement for Karen Mills,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican, in a statement this afternoon. “The SBA performs an important role for many small businesses and the administration should make small businesses a higher priority by finding a new administrator as quickly as possible.”

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