AUSTIN – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has named Adrian Bentley Nettles as the lone finalist to replace Sherry Cook as the agency’s executive director.

The announcement was made by commission Chairman Kevin J. Lilly after a special meeting July 11. Cook retired in May after a flyer surfaced that showed her and several of her colleagues drinking on their way to a conference.

Graphic created by TABC for trip that took state regulators to National Conference of State Liquor Administrators in 2015.

“This is an extremely important day for TABC,” said Lilly, who joined Commissioner Ida Clement Steen in choosing the new executive director. “This selection is the first step in restoring the public’s trust and making TABC a model of public service, transparency, and accountability.”

The meeting also served to name an interim executive director after previous acting Executive Director Ed Swedberg abruptly quit on July 7. TABC Executive Chief Robert Saenz was named interim executive director, and will fill the role until the new executive director takes over the position.

Nettles is an attorney and retired U.S. Army brigadier general, serving as general counsel for the Army Element Joint Force Headquarters of the Texas Army National Guard. TABC added he has received three Bronze Stars for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a Purple Heart.

TABC said Lilly and Steen interviewed six candidates for the position Monday, narrowed down from more than 80 candidates. Lilly said in a statement he expects the new director to hit the ground running when they formally take over.

“First and foremost, TABC serves the people of Texas,” Lilly said. “It’s my expectation that the new executive director find ways to improve customer service statewide while upholding our public safety mission and acting as a careful steward of taxpayer funds. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for this agency, and I’m confident General Nettles will lead TABC to a bright future.”

If Nettles accepts the position, he will begin work after background checks required for employment by the state of Texas.