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Head of SBA Resigns to Work in Private Sector

January 23, 1991|JANE APPLEGATE

Susan Engeleiter, chief of the Small Business Administration, resigned, saying she planned to return to her home state of Wisconsin and work in the private sector.

In accepting her resignation, President Bush praised Engeleiter for revitalizing an agency the Reagan Administration tried to abolish.

Bush said Engeleiter, whom he appointed two years ago, "has been a forceful advocate for small businesses throughout the country."

"I've been in public service since I was 22, and I think it's time for me to be in the private sector," said Engeleiter, an attorney who served 13 years in the Wisconsin House and Senate before coming to Washington. The SBA has 4,000 employees and 100 U.S. offices.

Engeleiter said she took pride in "the improved morale at SBA, which was targeted for extinction during the last Administration."

Small-business leaders said her resignation did not come as a surprise. In recent months, Engeleiter had experienced problems with her top managers and fired one of her key deputies. She also was criticized for spending too much time outside Washington.

"She brought a different sense of priorities to the office" and was interested in developing entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe, said Betty Jo Toccoli, a member of the SBA national advisory council.

Toccoli, former president of National Small Business United and president of Total One Development Center in Los Angeles, said Engeleiter did not spend much time meeting with small-business owners or organizations.

Small-business leaders credited Engeleiter with establishing a nationwide mentor program for women entrepreneurs and for obtaining additional funds for SBA loan guarantees despite the tight federal budget.

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