Turnover at the top


The faces of chambers of commerce, quite literally, are changing.

At least four metro-area chambers have had their top official step down so far in 2014. Several other area chambers, including the ones in Arvada, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree and Parker, have seen turnover at the top since the summer of 2013.

But the Denver suburbs aren't alone.

“There's a ton of turnover going on everywhere,” said Dave Kilby, president and CEO of the Western Association of Chamber Executives.

“I tell people the chamber industry is an opportunity industry. Half of our CEOs in the West are 55 or over. There are people almost weekly that are leaving because of retirement. There are a lot of CEO searches right now.”

Retirement is one reason. But also, chamber leaders commonly leave for a higher-paying post, Kilby said. In other cases, he said, the job just didn't live up to the hype.

In any case, Kilby says, don't look for a common thread in the Denver-area turnover.

“I think in every one of those CEO changes, there's probably a different story,” he said.

“There's nothing in the water; it's just a coincidence. You could go to a similar geography and find something similar.”

Below is a look at some metro-area chambers that have seen their president resign in 2014:

Golden Chamber of Commerce:

Who left? Gary Wink (19 years)
Resigned: January 2014
New president/CEO: Dawn Smith

Metro North Chamber of Commerce:

Who left? Deborah Obermeyer (15 years)
Resigned: May 2014
Recruitment process in progress

South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce:

Who left? John Brackney (10 years)
Resigned: March 2014
New president/CEO: Robert Golden

West Chamber of Commerce:

Who left: Brian Willms (2 years)
Resigned: May 2014
New president/CEO: Dan Rodriguez


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