Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tapped former Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration Robert Culver to be president and CEO of Massachusetts’ leading economic development group Wednesday.

MassDevelopment is a quasi-public authority of the state that assists in the development of businesses and jobs for the commonwealth, Culver said. His new position will require him to work with businesses and organizations in Massachusetts to stimulate economic growth.

Culver said he is excited to begin his new position this March.

“I have always been interested in working to further public purposes, whether it’s in the areas of education, health care or economic development,” Culver said.

Culver served as Yale’s vice president for finance and administration from 2001-2003. As the senior official under Yale President Richard Levin, his financial and nonacademic administrative responsibilities included financial planning, construction, maintenance and utilities.

Culver said his experience at Yale could prove to be helpful as he begins his new job.

“Yale presented many issues dealing with challenges for development within New Haven and working in cooperative ventures with the state,” Culver said. “My Yale experience provided me with experience in working with the state on business development issues in … areas dealing with issues of planning, development and management.”

Culver said he hopes to work closely with Romney, the Legislature and cities and towns to assist them in retaining and attracting businesses and in developing more job opportunities.

“I think it’s a very competitive time in which Massachusetts is looking to remain a very competitive state as it relates to [biotechnology], health care and financial service industries,” Culver said.

Romney said he looks forward to working with Culver.

“I’m pleased that a person of national experience and reputation has been chosen to lead this critical economic-development agency,” Romney said in a statement.

Current Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said Culver is an “extraordinary, thoughtful individual” and a person of “terrific character.”

Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said he was delighted to hear of Culver’s appointment.

“I’m very, very happy to hear that news,” Brodhead said. “He’s a great guy, and I very much enjoyed working with him.”

Culver said his appointment is an example of Yale’s ability to attract people who are influential in areas of public service.

“I think Yale attracts and provides great experience for people who are seriously interested in learning about and participating in public administration,” Culver said. In the 2003 fiscal year, MassDevelopment financed $860 million in projects statewide and supported the creation of over 5,300 jobs and the retention of nearly 26,000 jobs.