Governor Announces Senior Staff Changes

Chief of Staff Mike Barlow moves to Abrams & Bayliss
Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Fennell named new Chief of Staff

Wilmington, DEGovernor Jack Markell announces that his Chief of Staff, Michael A. Barlow, will leave the administration to return to private law practice, joining the firm of Abrams & Bayliss LLP. The Governor has named Drewry N. Fennell, who has been Deputy Chief of Staff since 2014, as his new Chief of Staff, providing a seamless transition in staffing for the remainder of the Governor’s term.

“Mike has been an extraordinary chief of staff,” Markell said. “Delaware is better off today because of Mike’s competence, dedication and passion for serving the people of our state. He is the straightest of straight shooters, which is why he has earned the respect of elected officials, state employees, business and community leaders and all Delawareans with whom he has served. I couldn’t be more grateful to him for all he has done for our administration and state and I wish him and Jen the very best as he transitions back to the practice of law. I am proud to have called him a colleague and will always be proud to call him a friend.”

Barlow joined the Markell administration at its outset in 2009, serving as Chief Legal Counsel and then also as Policy Director beginning in 2010. As Chief of Staff since the Governor’s re-election, Barlow has managed the Governor’s office staff and Cabinet while helping to lead efforts on job creation and competitiveness, infrastructure investment, and government efficiency.

“I am incredibly grateful to Governor Markell for the opportunity he’s given me,” said Barlow. “With the Governor’s leadership, Delaware has the fastest growing economy in the region, an expanding entrepreneurial culture, and a quality of life that is second to none. It was a privilege to work alongside him and make a difference for my state. I am excited to return to my first love – practicing law – and thrilled to be joining some of Delaware’s best litigators at Abrams & Bayliss.”

Abrams & Bayliss LLP is a corporate, business, and fiduciary law boutique focusing on high stakes litigation and transactional advice where there is a substantial risk of litigation or complex issues of Delaware law. Prior to serving joining the Markell Administration, Barlow practiced law with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Wilmington. He is a graduate of St. Mark’s High School, the University of Delaware, and Harvard Law School.

The Governor has announced that Drewry N. Fennell, his Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Director, will be the next Chief of Staff.

“Drew has been a huge part of what our office has accomplished in the last few years,” Markell said. “She has an outstanding working relationship with legislators, the cabinet, and advocates and stakeholders across our state. She has worked to make Delaware a better place in both the nonprofit and public sectors, and I am very excited that she will be taking on the role of Chief of Staff.”

Fennell, who joined the Governor’s Office in March 2014, as Criminal Justice Advisor, now serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Director. In addition to developing and implementing the Governor’s overall policy directives and legislative agendas, Fennell has been instrumental in leading the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative, reforming Delaware’s criminal justice system, improving public safety through the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission, expanding access to voting, and protecting civil rights of all Delawareans.

“Governor Markell has an incredible team and I’m very excited to take on this leadership role,” said Fennell. “We have done some great work together and I’m excited to continue to build on the legacy his administration is developing by staying focused on the Governor’s key priorities – supporting job creation, improving Delaware schools, and ensuring that state government provides effective and efficient services.”

Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Fennell was Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council, and she previously served as Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union and was an attorney with Young, Conaway, Stargatt and Taylor, LLP. Fennell is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Rutgers University School of Law- Camden.

The staffing changes become effective Monday, July 25, 2016.