Fulton’s COO named sole finalist to be next ARC executive director
By John Ruch
The Atlanta Regional Commission has named Anna Roach, Fulton County’s chief operating officer, as the sole finalist to become ARC’s next executive director.
If approved at a Dec. 8 board meeting, Roach would be the first woman to lead the 11-county metro planning agency. Current ARC head Doug Hooker announced his retirement earlier this year effective March 31, 2022. A selection committee has been conducted what it says was a nationwide search for a replacement.
Roach declined to comment at length, saying she wanted to respect the ARC board’s process. “I can say I am honored to have the confidence of the selection committee and I’m hoping that confidence extends to the time of the vote of the full board,” she said. “Completely thrilled would be an understatement.”
As for potentially becoming the ARC’s first woman leader in its 50-year history, Roach said, “It’s a very exciting fact and, again, should the board choose to confirm the recommendation of the selection committee, I certainly would be humbled by that fact as well. Assuming that role carries with it more responsibility than normal under those circumstances.”
“Anna Roach has extensive knowledge about the Atlanta region, a deep passion for the work we do at ARC, and a strong track record of success,” said ARC Board Chairman Kerry Armstrong in a press release. “The search committee evaluated many strong candidates and felt that Anna is best poised to build on the innovative work that’s been taking place at ARC and move the agency forward.”
Armstrong made similar comments in an internal email to ARC staff. “It was not an easy decision, but the Board search committee is confident that Anna is the right person to lead the agency and continue our innovative, impactful work,” he said in that email. “She is a proven leader with a strong track record of success, has a keen strategic mind, and shares a passion for the regional issues that we all care about at ARC. Anna is also highly regarded in our community… I hope that you share my excitement in welcoming Anna to the ARC family.”
Roach has been Fulton’s COO since 2017 and previously served as the county’s chief strategy officer and assistant county manager. She holds a J.D. from St. John’s University.
Hooker has led the ARC for a decade and is working on a long list of final-year goals. He has said that one reason for giving his resignation notice a year in advance was to work alongside his replacement for a solid transition period.
“I expect to have Doug at my side,” said Roach of her potential confirmation. “He’s done this region more than a service, so it’s an honor… to follow him in this position.”
Roach attended this year’s ARC LINK program trip to Chicago.
Editor’s Note: Maria Saporta contributed to this article.
Clarification: The ARC issued successive press releases with slightly different versions of Armstrong’s quote. This story has been updated to change a reference to the “Atlanta region” to “the work we do at ARC.”