New Orleans World Trade Center has new chief to ta

Dec 07, 2022

The New Orleans World Trade Center has a new chief, with Harrison Crabtree set to take over from Edwin Webb as head of the trade promotion body in January.

The move follows the takeoverĀ earlier this year of the WTC by GNO Inc, the regional economic development agency, which now runs it as a sub-division. Crabtree had been working in various capacities for GNO since 2016.

Webb had been CEO of the WTC in Louisville for more than a decade before he took over in New Orleans in summer 2019. A GNO statement on Wednesday said that he plans to retire.

"Ed deserves immense credit for understanding the changing dynamics associated with fostering and sustaining international trade relationships and the need for greater regional coordination in these efforts," said Michael Hecht, GNO Inc.'s CEO.

The WTC New Orleans was a founding member of a global network of World Trade Centers in the late 1960s. It eventually merged with a second group, the International Trade Mart, which in its heyday had hosted many high-level international delegations and worked to build the skyscraper at the foot of Canal Street.

Traditionally, the WTC had been mainly concerned with promoting exports from Louisiana and developing contacts in foreign markets. However, these days trade promotion involves a more complex set of relationships and goals.

Crabtree's efforts will now focus on developing foreign direct investment in Louisiana, as well as promoting imports and exports. That will mean attracting overseas companies to invest in logistics hubs, manufacturing bases and other job-creating infrastructure in the state.

Crabtree is a New Orleans native who earned a public policy degree at University of Mississippi and a masters degree in international development at the Brussels School of International Studies in Belgium in 2015 before joining GNO.