Phil Jacobs, president of Georgia operations for BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. and a long-term supporter of the tourism industry, is expected to be named chairman of Georgia’s Economic Development Department board at the group’s next meeting on Aug. 10, according to Kevin Langston, the agency’s communications director.

According to Mr. Langston, “Phil Jacobs has provided great guidance in his work on the board thus far, and will continue his outstanding service when he assumes the chairmanship. In particular, his focus on the importance of tourism as an economic development driver will be welcomed.”

Craig Lesser, the Economic Development Department’s new commissioner as of July 1, told GlobalAtlanta in a recent interview that he is placing an emphasis on creating tourism opportunities in all of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Mr. Jacobs will succeed Jim Blanchard, CEO of Columbus-based Synovus Financial Corp. Mr. Blanchard will continue to serve as a director, said Mr. Langston.

“Jim Blanchard brought a strong focus on vital policy issues and championed important legislation that is making a real difference in Georgia’s economic development,” Mr. Lesser told GlobalAtlanta. “I know that Phil Jacobs will add to that tradition and we all look forward to working under his leadership.”

According to Mr. Langston, Mr. Blanchard championed legislation sanctioning public and private partnerships for the promotion of tourism. He also supported large development “megasites” to attract major corporate projects, Mr. Langston said, such as the one in Pooler near Savannah.

Mr. Jacobs is this year’s chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he sits on various other boards, including the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and CDC Foundation.

He joined BellSouth in 1983, and was named president of its Georgia operations in 1998.

For more information, contact Mr. Langston at (404) 962-4006 or