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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Metro Atlanta Chamber President Sam Williams to retire

Sam Williams
  • Metro Atlanta Chamber
  • Sam Williams
Sam Williams, the president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber who's long been the public face of Atlanta's business community, will retire at the end of the year or whenever the influential organization hires his replacement.

The 68-year-old executive, who's earned cheers for helping metro Atlanta boom in the post-Olympics era and leading some progressive civic initiatives, made the announcement at the chamber's executive committee meeting on Tuesday, Maria Saporta reports.

Political observers have speculated over whether Williams would remain as the organization's honcho after last year's unsuccessful, chamber-led T-SPLOST campaign and the business community's involvement with former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall. But Williams today said the decision was his call. Says Saporta:

Williams said that when he was originally hired in December 1996, his original agreement called for him to work until he was 65 years old. Then three years ago, the executive committee asked him to say on for another three years. Williams said it was important to him for the Chamber to complete its five-year strategic plan and complete the five-year Forward Atlanta campaign before he retired.

"This is my decision and my timing," Williams said. "I wanted to make sure that the new business plan was in place, that we had the funding and that we structured our staff to carry out the plan."

Saporta says board members and elected officials, including Mayor Kasim Reed, had nothing but kind words for the outgoing executive, who says he plans to consult, teach, and write. Read her full report for all the details.

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