Waverly Partners Seeking New CEO for Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

November 7, 2017 – The Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce has retained executive search firm Waverly Partners to lead in its search for a new president and CEO. Dan Colantone resigned in March and former Green mayor Richard Norton is currently serving as interim CEO.

The firm will look at qualified local, regional and national candidates. Eric Peterson, a managing director and principal in Waverly Partners’ Cleveland office, and Rebecca Wilson Rogers, a managing director in the firm’s Greenwich office, are leading the search.

“We have developed a profile with the experience and leadership characteristics of our preferred candidate,” said Marc Merklin, chair of the chamber of commerce’s search committee. “Our committee is open to executives with backgrounds in economic development, chamber of commerce, business associations, other kinds of non-profits or related leadership experience with a commitment to the Greater Akron regional community.”

The Role

The CEO will oversee and manage all aspects of the chamber, with a particular focus on maintaining the chamber’s engagement with leaders of the organization’s membership, which ranges from Fortune 1000 corporations to professional service firms, from entrepreneurial businesses to major healthcare institutions. The selected candidate will function as the organization’s collaborative team leader and creative thinker, especially in regard to fundraising, communication and messaging, strategy and overall program development, Waverly Partners said.

The ideal candidate must have a proven track record and may come from a variety of backgrounds such as: the top executive of a progressive comparably-sized chamber of commerce, economic development organization, or related significant business association. Experience serving a regional marketplace along with significant board interaction and experience leading large numbers of volunteers are all strongly desired, according to the search firm.

The Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce serves a tri-county region in Northern Ohio to include Summit, Medina and Portage Counties, with a regional population of over 800,000. The area has a diverse economy that includes aerospace, advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, biomedical, automotive, polymers, liquid crystal along with healthcare, higher education, tourism and hospitality.

Preferred Provider

Formed in 2001, Waverly Partners serves Fortune 500 service and manufacturing corporations, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations, non-profit organizations, professional service firms, private equity firms, hospitals and healthcare systems and colleges and universities nationwide.

It has conducted C-level assignments for a host of well-known clients, including Andersons, Greater Raleigh (NC) Chamber of Commerce, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Nordson Corp., Parker Hannifin Corp., AMETEK, Michelin, Nucor Corporation, South Carolina Aquarium, Cleveland Metroparks, and Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The firm has a national reputation of serving chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. The American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the national organization for chamber leaders, has designated Waverly Partners as the preferred provider of executive search services. It is the only firm in the country to have earned this distinction.

Mr. Peterson has 25 years of executive search consulting experience with a successful track record of recruiting top and senior leaders to executive management, finance, information systems, sales and marketing, operations and human resources positions. He has served Fortune 1000 corporations, hospitals and healthcare systems, privately held businesses and non-profit organizations. His clients include: the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Tucson Metro Chamber, Ohio Hospital Association, Greater Waco Chamber, United Way, Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Greater Raleigh Chamber, among others.

Ms. Wilson Rogers has over 25 years of marketing, operational and strategic consulting experience to her executive search practice. As a functional generalist with broad industry experience, she has traveled extensively and has lived and worked around the world. She has particular expertise in customer segmentation, operational processes, integrated sales and marketing campaigns, and analytics and measurability, including P&L responsibility.

Sector In Search of New Leaders

Economic and community development organizations continue to turn to executive search firms to find new leaders. Here’s a look at a few recent searches across the sector from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:

Executive search firm Carlson Beck placed Susan True as the new CEO of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County following a national search. With deep local relationships in the non-profit world, Ms. True has served as executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County and CASA of Santa Cruz County.

Following an extensive national search, Bialla Partners has placed Tallia Hart as president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Partner Jeff Hodge led the assignment. Ms. Hart is the first woman, minority, and youngest to lead the 167-year old organization.

Brent Cooper, an entrepreneur, small business owner and longtime leader in the regional business community, has been named president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The organization enlisted Cincinnati-based executive recruitment firm Centennial Inc. to conduct the search.

Jorgenson Consulting has been selected by the Wayne Economic Development Council to lead in its search for its next president. Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal, is heading the assignment. The organization has formed a search committee to identify, interview and recommend candidates to replace president Rodney Crider.

Executive search firm Elinvar placed Scott Levitan as CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, which manages an eminent North Carolina research park known as Research Triangle Park. He succeeds Bob Geolas, who left the organization last September. Elinvar’s president and CEO, Patti Gillenwater, led the search.

Bialla Partners recruited Tallia Hart as president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Partner Jeff Hodge led the assignment. She is the first woman, first minority, and youngest to lead the 167-year old organization. Ms. Hart previously served as president and CEO of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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