Johnny Vallejo. Courtesy of City of Long Beach.

As Long Beach prepares for the departure of Economic Development Director John Keisler next week after five years in the position, City Manager Tom Modica has appointed Johnny Vallejo as the acting director of the Economic Development Department, the city announced today.

Vallejo has been with the city since 2003, serving in several roles including administrative analyst, development project manager and property services officer. Most recently, Vallejo worked as the business operations manager for the Economic Development Department, where he managed the city’s real estate assets, including agreements to keep and maintain the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, the Queen Mary and the Carnival Cruise Terminal.

He has also overseen the financial aspects of the department’s CARES Act and Long Beach Recovery Act efforts.

“Mr. Vallejo has been an incredible asset over the years for the City’s business development,” Modica said in a statement. “I have no doubt he will lead this team to further our efforts in building back our economy and supporting the recovery of local businesses.”

As director of the Economic Development Department, Vallejo will oversee the operations of more than 85 employees while focusing on “increasing economic opportunities for residents, investors and entrepreneurs throughout the city and managing the City’s extensive real estate interests,” according to the city’s announcement.

“I’m excited to lead this team and continue our efforts to expand economic opportunities for this amazing and innovative community,” Vallejo said. “I know our team will keep advancing our important work while City leadership conducts a search for a permanent Economic Development Director.”

The city will conduct a national search for a permanent director, but Vallejo has indicated that he will not be applying for the permanent position, according to Long Beach Human Resources Director Joe Ambrosini.

The search is expected to take approximately four months. Upon the appointment of a new permanent director, Vallejo is expected to return to his previous position as business operations manager.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more information from the Long Beach Human Resources Department.

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Christian May-Suzuki is a reporter at the Long Beach Business Journal.