May 28, 2013
President and CEO Ellen van der Horst to leave Chamber
Saying she is "ready for new challenges", Chamber CEO and President Ellen van der Horst today announced that she will not renew her contract that ends in early 2014. The search for a successor will begin soon and van der Horst will stay on until a new president/CEO is named in order to ensure a smooth transition.
"While I haven't yet identified what's next, it will surely include ongoing commitment to our community. As an unabashed Cincinnati champion, it has been a great pleasure to grow the chamber, strengthen our business community and advance greater economic prosperity," said van der Horst.
"Ellen has been a strategic leader for our chamber, bringing great passion and vision to grow the chamber in the face of tremendous change across our business and economic landscape," said Kay Geiger, current chair of the Chamber Board of Directors and Market President for PNC Bank.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber is the region's largest economic development organization and a key provider of programs and services to nearly 5,000 members, from Fortune 500 companies to start-up businesses.
Under van der Horst's leadership, the chamber has grown and thrived, even in a challenging economy. Among many accomplishments, these stand out:
- Development of innovative programs to strengthen and grow the chamber's members, including C-Change for young professionals and Women Excel, a suite of offerings for women leaders.
- A complete overhaul of the Cincinnati USA Regional Partnership to a cluster-based approach to regional economic development.
- Growth of the Minority Business Accelerator's (MBA) portfolio and goal-setting companies as well as expansion to include Hispanic-owned firms.
- Expansion of CincyTech that has significantly increased access to venture capital and broadened the number of companies in the tech sector that it supports.
- Stronger advocacy for the Cincinnati business community in Washington and Columbus.
- Leadership of collaborations that produced Agenda 360, the regional action plan to grow talent, jobs, and economic opportunity; and GO Cincinnati, a comprehensive strategy to grow the tax base for the City of Cincinnati.
Geiger said a nationwide search for a new President and CEO will begin immediately, but put no timetable on when a replacement would be named. "Ellen's decision to stay and help with this process is a great advantage, and a great example of her dedication to the chamber and the community."