Members of the Authority
Residence: Torrance, California.
Background: Mr. Chiang graduated with honors from the University of South Florida with a degree in Finance, and received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. As State Treasurer, he oversees a bank that processes trillions of dollars in transactions every year. He sells California’s bonds, invests the State’s money and manages its cash. Prior to being elected Treasurer, he served from 2007 through 2014 as State Controller. In that office, he took steps during the Great Recession to preserve cash to meet obligations to education and bond holders, worked to ensure the fiscal solvency of the State’s pension plans, and ensured that $3.1 billion in unclaimed property was returned to the rightful owners. Prior to serving as Controller, he was elected to the Board of Equalization in 1998, where he led with innovative taxpayer-friendly services such as the State's free income tax return preparation service, ReadyReturn.
Betty T. Yee
Residence: Alameda, California
Background: Betty T. Yee was elected Controller in November 2014, following two terms on the California Board of Equalization (BOE). As the state’s chief fiscal officer, Yee chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System boards, and she continues to serve BOE as its fifth voting member. Yee also serves on the board of Ceres, a nonprofit working to mobilize large investors to advance global sustainability and take stronger action on climate change. Yee serves on dozens of boards and commissions with authority ranging from land management to crime victim compensation. As a member of the State Lands Commission (and chair in even-numbered years), she helps steward public trust lands, waterways, wharves, and resources—including oil, gas, and geothermal—through economic development, protection, and restoration consistent with environmental needs. Through financing authorities, Yee works to create incentives to increase affordable housing in California. Controller Yee has over 30 years’ experience in public service, state and local finance, and tax policy. As Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance, she led development of the Governor’s Budget. Prior to this, she served fiscal and policy committees in both houses of the California Legislature. She cofounded the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, which exposes California high school youth to public policy and public service. A native of San Francisco, Yee received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a master’s degree in public administration.
Director of Finance
Residence: Sacramento, California.
Background: Michael Cohen was appointed as Director of the California Department of Finance by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2013. He serves as the Governor’s chief fiscal policy advisor. Prior to becoming Director, he served as Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Finance from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity, Mr. Cohen was the department’s lead contact with the state Legislature on the state budget. From 1997 to 2010, Mr. Cohen worked at the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). While there, he served as a local government finance analyst, Director of State Administration, and Deputy Legislative Analyst. Mr. Cohen earned a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University. He lives in Sacramento with his wife Amy Supinger and his two dogs, Lulu and Dexter.
Chief Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
Panorea Avdis serves as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the state’s lead entity for economic development and job creation efforts. Appointed by Governor Brown in 2012, Director Avdis has been instrumental in the restructure of California’s economic development office. Director Avdis’ role entails direct oversight of some of the state’s key economic development programs including the Infrastructure and Economic Development (I-Bank), the California Film Commission, the California Commission of Travel and Tourism and the California Competes Tax Credit – which will grant $780 million in tax credits to expanding California companies over the next five years. Prior to her most recent appointment, Director Avdis served as the Chief Deputy Director for GO-Biz, Chief of Staff in the Office of Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, Director of External Affairs at the California Department of Housing and Community Development under Governor Schwarzenegger. She also served in several positions in the Office of Governor Gray Davis including advance staff and special assistant to the Governor. In addition to her public sector work, she spent several years in the private sector as a project manager and advisor to the Chairman of AKT Development; a major land development company based in Northern California. Director Avdis Chairs the I-Bank Board and the CA Competes Tax Credit Committee and serves on the California Employment Training Panel, Green Collar Jobs Council, California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission, Economic Recovery Financing Committee and the California Association for Local Economic Development (CalED) Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the California State University, Sacramento Hellenic Outreach Program, the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Foundation, Music on a Mission, Angelic LLC, and serves as the custodian of archives for Governor Gray Davis. She is a native Sacramentan, daughter of Greek immigrants, and a graduate of University of California (UC) Davis.
Jan Lynn Owen
Commissioner of the Department of Business Oversight
Jan Lynn Owen is the Commissioner of the Department of Business Oversight, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown. On July 1, 2013, the Department of Business Oversight was formed through the consolidation of the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Corporations, where Owen was Commissioner. Previously, Owen served as strategic initiatives manager at Apple Inc., Vice President of governmental affairs at JP Morgan Chase, Vice President of Washington Mutual Bank, and Executive Director of the California Mortgage Bankers Association. Owen also served as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions, after serving as Deputy Commissioner, and as a consultant to the California State Senate Banking Committee.