Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced that Francine A. Giani, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, is retiring from her cabinet post after giving 35 years of prominent public service to the State of Utah.
Giani led the Department through the administrations of five governors and held four different roles beginning with her career in state government when the late Gov. Norm Bangerter asked her to join his administration. With Francine Giani’s retirement, Gov. Herbert also announced today that Chris Parker has been appointed as the new Interim Executive Director to carry on the leadership that has kept Commerce on a steady course. His appointment is effective Jan. 17, 2020.
“Francine Giani is one of a kind. She has always been a firm but fair leader with an unwavering passion for protecting Utah consumers and keeping the playing field level for all businesses. She successfully steered the Department of Commerce in good and challenging times. I am forever grateful for her tireless dedication and leadership,” said Gov. Gary Herbert. “Francine had dedicated her life to serving the needs of Utahns and now we honor her, and her family by wishing them all the best in her next chapter.”
Giani began her storied career in state government when the late Gov. Norm Bangerter asked her to become his press secretary and policy advisor in 1984. After serving in Bangerter’s Administration, Francine Giani was appointed to lead the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Consumer Protection by Gov. Bangerter in 1992 where she served for 14 years protecting Utah consumers. When Gov. Jon Huntsman took office he looked to Francine’s leadership to head the Utah Department of Commerce in July 2005. Giani’s dedication and tireless work ethic was front and center when Gov. Gary R. Herbert appointed Francine A. Giani as Interim Director of the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (DABC) in August 2011 in addition to her role at Commerce. During her tenure, Francine Giani implemented sweeping changes to employee practices and policies after legislative audits and internal investigations until June 2012.
In addition to her leadership role at Commerce, Francine Giani has been a steadfast consumer advocate who actively participates in public outreach to educate Utah citizens about fraud. Her public service was honored through following awards; Brigham Young University’s Romney Institute of Public Management ‘N. Dale Wright Distinguished Alumni Award’ in 2011 and Utah Business Magazine’s “30 Women to Watch” in 2012. She earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree from Hunter College in New York City and later received a Masters of Public Administration from the Romney Institute of Public Management at Brigham Young University where she currently serves on the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management Executive Advisory Board.
“As I told the governor in private this week, who would have thought that a kid from Queens, New York would have all the wonderful opportunities afforded to me to lead such a great career with the best team at the Department of Commerce. I am humbled and grateful to each of the governors who believed in me and gave me the chance to lead even when I didn’t think I was ready for the challenge. I am so proud of the talented employees at the Department of Commerce and the important work they do every day. My 35 years in state government have been an incredible ride and I will always cherish the people who believed in me and allowed me to serve our great state,” stated Francine A. Giani.
Chris Parker has been appointed by Gov. Herbert to serve as Interim Director of the Department of Commerce and will assume the role beginning on Jan. 17, 2020. Parker is currently serving as the Director of the Utah Division of Public Utilities and will maintain a dual role over the Division and the Department of Commerce in his new role as Interim Executive Director.