Ron Russell to Leave State Chamber Post

Ron Russell said Thursday that he will leave his position as president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas.

Russell has been president and CEO since Dec. 1, 1989.

Russell said he will give the chamber's board of directors time to find a replacement and will stay on to allow a period of transition once a new CEO has been hired.

A Salem, Mo., native and Arkansas Tech University graduate, Russell's 39-year career in economic development activities has included being mayor or Russellville, director of Russellville's Industrial Contact Team, executive vice president of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and president of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce.

The 77-year-old state chamber represents more than 800 businesses and business interest organizations statewide.

Russell's Letter to the Board of Directors

January 5, 2006

To the Board of Directors of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas:

After 15 years of working with you in the important business of building a stronger Arkansas, today I announce my plans to leave my position as president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas. Delaine's health has taken a great deal of my time over the past two years and I want to thank the Executive Committee of ASCC-AIA for their support and compassion to both us.

My plans are to leave this position no later than December 31, 2006, or sooner once my replacement has been named. At the Executive Committee's request, I will maintain this job as they conduct a search to select the best individual to assume the leadership of our two organizations. If necessary, I have agreed to stay on for an adequate transitional period in order for the new CEO and the board to feel comfortable that an adequate succession plan is in place.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported me and worked with me over the years. I have a deep love for Arkansas and the work of building an economically stronger state. I wish only the best for those involved with our two organizations and local chambers and economic developers across the state. It has been my privilege to be your business partner in the outstanding work that you do. I will support the new president and CEO and hopefully I can be as good a mentor and confidant as my predecessor Bob Lamb has been to me during my tenure with the Chamber.

Although I will be leaving this position, it is my plan to continue my work as a governmental affairs consultant continuing my work with the legislature and Constitutional officers.

I look forward to our continuing our work together in the future and trust that I can count on you to support the members of our Executive Committee as they seek to permanently fill this position.

Many thanks to you all,
Ron Russell