Nova Scotia's most powerful bureaucrat will be ACOA's next president

Laura Lee Langley is set to begin her new role as president of ACOA on July 2. (Communications Nova Scotia - image credit)
Laura Lee Langley is set to begin her new role as president of ACOA on July 2. (Communications Nova Scotia - image credit)

Nova Scotia's most powerful public servant, Laura Lee Langley, is leaving her post at the end of the month to lead the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

On May 16, Premier Tim Houston announced Langley's retirement as the head of the province's public service, clerk of the executive council and deputy minister to the premier. Her last day will be June 30.

Roughly 24 hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a news release naming Langley as the next president of ACOA, effective July 2.

ACOA is one of seven federal regional development agencies in Canada, providing loans to small and medium-sized businesses and supporting economic growth in Atlantic Canada.

As president, Langley will oversee 378 employees at 29 ACOA offices, and an annual budget of more than $350 million.

Served three premiers

Former Liberal premier Stephen McNeil appointed Langley as head of the public service in 2016. She survived two subsequent leadership changes, serving Iain Rankin when he took over as premier in February 2021 and then Houston when he took over the job in August 2021.

Langley spent a total of 27 years in the public service, with two decades in senior positions. According to the province, she is Canada's longest-serving cabinet clerk.

Langley was a conduit between the premier's office and senior officials within departments. She was responsible for turning cabinet decisions into government action or public policy and for making sure the premier's office got the advice it needed to inform its decisions.

Before joining the government in 1997, Langley was a familiar face on television, having worked at ATV as a reporter, host and weather presenter, and at MITV/Global as a reporter, anchor and senior producer.

Houston has not yet named a replacement for Langley.