Barbour Names MDA Chief

Governor-elect Haley Barbour has appointed Jackson businessman Leland Speed to be the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

At a news conference Thursday in Jackson, Barbour talked about his choice.

“His extensive and successful business experience as well as his long-time involvement in community affairs exemplifies the highest standard of excellence," said Barbour. "He is a Mississippi success story and an example of how Mississippians can make it to the top of their profession.”

"I see Meridian, frankly, as one of the top spots in this automobile race," said Speed, when asked specifically about economic development prospects for east Mississippi.

Speed is Chairman of Parkway Properties, Inc., a Real Estate Investment Trust specializing in the ownership and operation of office properties. He is also Chairman of EastGroup Properties, Inc., an equity REIT whose investment emphasis is in the development and ownership of industrial properties. Both companies are based in Jackson.

Born in Jackson, Speed graduated from the Jackson public schools and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, and was awarded the MBA degree by Harvard Business School.