Calling it the “right time,” Meg Arnold, CEO of the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance for nearly five years, is stepping down.
SARTA, a nonprofit that fosters growth of technology companies and tech-related jobs in the Sacramento region, said Tuesday that its executive committee will conduct a search for her successor. Arnold’s last day will be Sept. 30.
Both Arnold and SARTA’s board called it a mutually amicable parting.
Arnold, who served four years on SARTA’s board before becoming CEO in 2009, said her decision to leave was “more of a personal thing as I look at my professional career. It was just the right time to do it.” Prior to SARTA, she worked six years at UC Davis on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization programs.
Although it’s not clear what her next career move will be, “I wanted to look at my options and let them know what I was doing, even though I don’t have anything lined up,” she said. “By Oct. 1, I should have something buttoned up.”
Arnold plans to stay in the Sacramento area, but not necessarily in the tech sector.
Peter Van Deventer, SARTA’s board chairman, stressed that it was “Meg’s own decision (to leave). We at the board were very disappointed because we’re big fans of Meg’s.”
Van Deventer said the deadline to replace Arnold is open-ended as SARTA wants to find the best possible candidate. Asked if SARTA would search locally or nationally for a successor, Van Deventer said, “We haven’t defined it either way … but obviously, someone who is well-connected and established within the Sacramento (region’s) technology community would be an ideal candidate.”
In a press release announcing her departure, Van Deventer praised Arnold for driving “significant growth and accomplishments at SARTA, all focused on the mission of accelerating technology companies in the Sacramento region … We thank her for her leadership, wish her well in her future endeavors and hope she continues to contribute to economic development initiatives locally.”
During her tenure as CEO, Arnold helped form SARTA’s MedStart program, a medical technology incubator. One year ago, SARTA launched AgStart, aimed at accelerating growth of companies that develop innovative sustainable agricultural technologies.
Arnold said she was proud of the growth in both SARTA’s membership and in overall awareness of the Sacramento region’s technology sector.
In a report released earlier this year, SARTA said the region’s tech industry of 530 companies grew in several key segments in 2013.
The region’s medical-tech sector saw a more than 20 percent increase in jobs in 2013, from fewer than 5,000 workers in 2012 to more than 6,000 employees last year, according to the report. The number of medical-tech companies totaled 137, up by 11 from 2012.
The clean-tech sector of 99 companies accounted for more than $2.2 billion in revenue in 2013, a 5 percent increase over the previous year, according to SARTA. Employment in the sector grew 6 percent to more than 3,400.
Founded in 2001, SARTA concentrates its efforts in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Nevada, Butte, Solano, Sutter and Yuba counties. It has five full-time employees and more than 300 individual/business members.
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.