Richard Luehrs has been president and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce for more than 30 years, but this month he will retire from his post.
Luehrs and Tim Brown, the chamber's chairman, announced the retirement on Tuesday through an email sent to chamber members. According to the memo, Luehrs will retire from the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce effective later this month. An interim CEO will be selected board.
“It has been my distinct privilege to work with these and past community leaders for more than 30 years,” Luehrs said in a released statement. “It is now time to prepare for the next century of support and influence to our business community.”
The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:
Today, Richard Luehrs, President and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors jointly announced Richard’s retirement from the Chamber of Commerce effective later this month. Luehrs noted, “Over the years, the Chamber has become a partner to business in Newport Beach offering supportive programs, advocacy, and special signature events.
Luehrs remarked,“Thanks to the participation of so many business leaders that have served on the Chamber Board over the past 105 years, the Chamber has developed a strong and positive reputation in our community. It has been my distinct privilege to work with these and past community leaders for more than 30 years. It is now time to prepare for the next century of support and influence to our business community."
In recent months the Chamber’s leadership has begun conversations with Visit Newport Beach to address a more effective business model where the Chamber transfers some of its signature events to another organization to allow the Chamber to refocus its efforts in support of small business, particularly in this challenging economic climate.
Under Luehrs leadership, the Chamber founded the popular Taste of Newport Event, strengthened and brought National attention to the Christmas Boat Parade, founded the community’s Leadership Program, assisted in the development and passage of the City’s General plan, and hosted countless networking events in support of local business.
Although the Chamber has recently acknowledged its financial challenges brought on by challenges in the Commercial Real Estate market, and declining revenues from some of its events, the Chamber under Luehrs leadership has had a remarkable influence on the development of the community. Chamber Chairman, Tim Brown stated that the Board of Directors reluctantly accepted Luehrs retirement and acknowledged the positive impact he has had on the Chamber and the community.
The responsibility of the interim CEO will be to bring consensus among the Chamber Board of Directors and its support groups such as the Commodores and Ambassadors on a sustainable business model ensuring the organization not only addresses the needs of local business, but also continues to add strong community value through programs such as the popular Economic Forecast, business to business development programs and community programs recognizing graduating high school seniors who excel in academics and athletics and honoring our men and women who serve as our first responders for life safety issues in Newport Beach.