The Chamber last week named Polly Armstrong and John DeClercq joint CEOs, stating that they would be advocates for all local businesses, and support “the economic and civic strength needed to build a city based on the principles of smart, sustainable growth, business innovation and retention”, as well as a solid tax base. The Chamber’s chairman, Rod Howard and local business owner Michael Goldin, who was chair of the Search Committee, added that the new leaders will also be looking at ways to create local jobs for the emerging green economy.
Armstrong is a former Berkeley City Councilmember (1994-2002) and a 32 year resident of the Claremont district in Berkeley. She is a Certified Financial Planner and serves on the Board of Directors of Freight and Salvage. Armstrong is also a fly fisherman and a private pilot.
DeClercq was Chairman of the Chamber’s Board for two terms, 2002-2004, after several years of serving as a Director on the Board. Prior to that, he was President of the Downtown Berkeley Association where he helped create the Business Improvement District (BID) for downtown. In 1991 he managed the Berkeley Center, including the Shattuck 10 Cinemas, the Shattuck Hotel, Original Mel’s diner and a dozen other retail and office tenants.
The Chamber has had a fractured recent history with regard to its leadership — the past three years have seen four CEOs arrive and depart in quick succession. Most recently, Marc Berson, formerly head of the Alabama Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce, left his post in August eight months after taking up the position in January of last year.
Interested in issues surrounding running a business in Berkeley? Be sure to attend Berkeleyside’s first Local Business Forum on Monday January 24, 7-9pm at the Freight & Salvage. Doors open at 6.30 and it’s free.