Mills leaving top SBA position
Almost four years after being appointed by the president to head the U.S. Small Business Administration, Karen Mills has announced she will resign the position as soon as a successor is named.
Mills, of Brunswick, made her announcement Monday in an email to SBA employees and directors. No reason was given for the departure. Instead, she heaped praise upon the department and its people.
“We are responsible for the individuals who create two of every three net new jobs in our economy,” Mills’ statement read, in part. “I cannot think of a better team to support these job creators.”
When tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the SBA, Mills, now 59, left the private sector, where she had her own advisory firm and also served as an economic adviser to then-Gov. John Baldacci.
SBA media relations personnel said Mills would not be available for comment for several days.
The SBA’s primary responsibilities include providing educational and logistical assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Other services include help with business planning, loan application completion assistance and arranging financial assistance through federally guaranteed loans.
In her statement, Mills prided the agency’s efforts to simplify application processes and reduce turn-around times. Since 2009, the SBA has “supported more than $106 billion in lending to more than 193,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs,” she wrote.
“I am certainly saddened to learn that she will be leaving the Small Business Administration,” said U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, also a Brunswick resident, in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I know that America’s small businesses, and our economy as a whole, are better for her exemplary service,” King wrote.
Mills led an effort to cut red tape from the SBA loan application process. And she convinced more than 1,000 community banks across the country to return to SBA lending.
“She’s done a very good job at a time when small businesses were having difficultites getting credit in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “And SBA played an important role in expanding its loan guarantee program.”
Mills will return to Brunswick, where she runs MMP Group, a private equity firm. Her husband, Barry, is president of Bowdoin College.