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August 23, 2013

Chamber CEO Heidt leaving post Oct. 1

Robert W. Heidt, Jr., hired as the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive officer less than two years ago, is leaving that position to take an undisclosed position with another chamber elsewhere.

Heidt, hired in December 2011, informed the local chamber’s board of directors of his decision today and sent out a letter informing chamber members and its community partners of his Oct. 1 departure. Heidt did not immediately return phone calls Thursday.

Peter Webber, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce executive vice president, will serve as interim CEO until Heidt’s replacement is found.

Ed Collard, president of the chamber’s board of directors, will head the search committee for Heidt’s successor.

“It will be a national search,” Collard said Thursday. “But we haven’t even had a meeting of the executive board, never mind the general board, so I really can’t speak to what we’re going to do yet.”

Collard did say the new search likely will emulate the search two years ago that led to hiring Heidt, who had come to Cape Ann after serving three years as senior vice president of the Austin (Texas) Chamber of Commerce, and who started his career in the field with a chamber of commerce in Las Vegas.

“I think it’s obvious we made a great decision (in hiring Heidt at the time),” Collard said. “Robert is a very sought-after commodity in the chamber world and we were blessed to have him for as long as we did. He’s a rising star.”

In his letter emailed Thursday to chamber members, Heidt listed a number of highlights from his tenure at the helm of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

They include launching a healthcare cooperative for members, record attendance at chamber events, increasing the retention rate of members, adopting a member-first approach and the development of new website, social media and marketing strategies.

Heidt pointed out that the chamber ended 2012 on “solid financial ground.”

He said the chamber balanced its 2013 budget while remaining on target to exceed 2013 financial goals.

Sean Horgan may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3464, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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