For Immediate Release: November 16, 2017
Contacts: Office of Governor-Elect Ralph Northam, Ofirah Yheskel,

Governor-Elect Ralph Northam Announces Key Administration Appointments


RICHMOND—Today, Governor-elect Ralph Northam announced his choices for four key senior administration positions:

Clark Mercer will serve as the Governor-elect’s Chief of Staff.

Suzette Denslow will continue on in her position as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Current Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne will serve as Secretary of Finance.

Dennis Johnson will continue as Director of the Division of Selected Agency Support Services.


Appointee Biographies

Clark Mercer, Chief of Staff
Clark Mercer currently serves as Chief of Staff to Lieutenant Governor and Governor-elect Ralph Northam. Prior to his appointment, Mercer served as a Professional Staff Member on the congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting, and as a consultant with LMI Government Consulting. He received his Bachelor's degree from Yale University and his Master's degree in Public Policy from George Washington University's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Suzette Denslow, Deputy Chief of Staff
Suzette Denslow currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff  to Governor Terence R. McAuliffe. Prior to her joining the Governor’s Office, Denslow served as the Chief of Staff to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. She has a long government background, and she served as Legislative Director for Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. In addition, she served as the Deputy Secretary of Education for Governor L. Douglas Wilder. Previously, she spent about 15 years lobbying the General Assembly on behalf of local governments. She also was Deputy Director of the Virginia Municipal League, and the Director of the Tennessee Municipal League. She has a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Aubrey Layne, Secretary of Finance
Aubrey Layne currently serves as Secretary of Transportation for Governor Terence R. McAuliffe. As Secretary, Layne oversees seven state agencies with over 10,000 employees and combined budgets of more than $5 billion. Prior to his appointment, he represented the Hampton Roads area on the Commonwealth Transportation Board from 2009 until January 2014. Secretary Layne also served as President of An Achievable Dream Academy in Newport News, a unique partnership between public schools and the local business community providing at-risk students opportunities to succeed. Prior to joining An Achievable Dream, Mr. Layne was President and Principle Broker of Great Atlantic Properties, where he was responsible for the operational activities, new business acquisition, and capital improvement strategy as well as banking and investor relationships at the company. Mr. Layne earned a B.S. in Accounting from The University of Richmond (1979), is a Virginia Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and received an MBA from Old Dominion University with a concentration in International Business (1997).

Dennis Johnson, Division of Selected Agency Support Services
Dennis Johnson is the Director of Support Services for Governor Terence R. McAuliffe.  He has served under eight Governors, and has held his current position since 1990.  In this capacity, he handles the administrative and financial functions for the Governor’s Office and Cabinet.