State Chamber of Commerce Doug Whitley Retiring

A press release from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce:

Illinois Chamber President Doug Whitley to Retire in 2014

Whitley credited with revitalizing Illinois Chamber during 12-year tenure

CHICAGO – Douglas L. Whitley, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, plans to retire from the Chamber in June 2014.

Ray Drake, Chairman of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said that Whitley announced his retirement plans to the Chamber Board today at the board’s quarterly meeting.

“In his 12 years as president and CEO, Doug has transformed the Illinois Chamber into a robust organization that is well-respected and recognized for its leadership as the unifying statewide voice of business in Illinois,” Drake said.

“As a result of Doug’s initiative, leadership and management, the Illinois Chamber today has seven policy councils that address the most important public policy issues, an effective government affairs operation, alliances with the nation’s leading advocacy organizations and a very capable staff.”

Drake said that the Illinois Chamber Board will conduct a nationwide search for a successor to Whitley.

“We thank Doug for the long advance notice, which will allow the Board to work with him through a well-planned transition period that will launch the Chamber’s next chapter of strong advocacy for business in Illinois,” he said.

Drake noted that the timing of Whitley’s retirement gives the next Chamber CEO and its board time to establish new leadership and set its agenda before the 2014 gubernatorial election. Whitley agreed.

“It will be good for the Illinois Chamber to have a new leader with a fresh perspective when the next gubernatorial administration starts, whether Gov. Pat Quinn is re-elected or we have a new governor,” he said.

Whitley, 63, became president and CEO in September 2001. During his tenure, the Illinois Chamber has represented business interests on matters including:

  • pushing for workers’ compensation reform
  • helping to defeat a proposed gross receipts tax
  • founding and co-chairing the Transportation for Illinois Coalition
  • advocating for infrastructure investment
  • calling for fiscal integrity and seeking legislation to bring long-term solvency to Illinois public pension systems
Doug Whitley

Doug Whitley

“I am proud of the accomplishments of the Illinois Chamber, especially since we made progress in the face of a decade that was dismal for business in Illinois,” Whitley said.

“The political dysfunction of our state government, marked by

  • corruption
  • lack of fiscal discipline and
  • excessive unemployment

has not made it an easy era for Illinois employers.”

Still, Whitley said, “This is one of the best jobs in Illinois.

“As Chamber President, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels on public policy that directly affects the daily life of all employers and employees in Illinois.

“I have had the privilege of working with the Chamber staff, a talented team of experts who care deeply about advocating for a more favorable Illinois business climate.

“And, it has been a joy to meet thousands of job-creators throughout Illinois, who run companies that allow the people of Illinois to earn their livings and support their families and communities.”

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The Illinois Chamber of Commerce promotes the interests of Illinois business by working to improve the state’s business climate. The Illinois Chamber aggressively advocates for legislation and public policies that support economic growth, and is a source of timely and reliable information on matters important to its members, Illinois employers and the general public. The Illinois Chamber also provides effective programs and services to its members to meet their business needs, including immediate answers to tax and human resources concerns and access to compliance seminars and publications.

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