FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says Executive Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown and interim Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes will retire from state government.

John Hicks will take over the role of Executive Cabinet secretary while continuing to serve as state budget director. Beshear has named Jeff Noel as the new Economic Development Cabinet secretary.

At a news conference Thursday, Beshear thanked Brown for helping to lead the executive branch through multiple natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown has accepted a position with Simmons College of Kentucky, a private historically black college in Louisville.

“He has been an integral part of Team Kentucky, I call him a wonderful friend," Beshear said.

The governor also commended Hayes for his 20-plus years of service, crediting him with helping “the commonwealth shatter every economic development record in the books in 2021.”

“Larry has always worked behind the scenes to move Kentucky forward — and the commonwealth is a better place to live, work and do business because of his work," Beshear said. "We wish him the very best as he takes time to spend with his family and grandchildren.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.