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Outgoing Mayor Sanders named chamber CEO

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So much for retirement.

Mayor Jerry Sanders announced Thursday he will be the new chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

His reign as mayor officially ends on Dec. 3; he’ll begin with the chamber the next day.

As the head of the region’s largest business lobbying group, Sanders will now be responsible for working with local, state and national government groups on the behalf of the city’s business community.

Sanders spoke of his work on behalf of the clean-tech and craft beer communities, along with his stewardship of the Convention Center expansion plan as precursors to what he’ll now be doing with the chamber.

“For me, given my work over the years to create jobs and grow our economy, working at the chamber is a very natural extension of the work we’ve done here, and there’s certainly a lot of work to do,” he said.

The announcement came a day after election results showed Rep. Bob Filner — who Sanders earlier in the week said was difficult to work with — would be San Diego’s 35th mayor.

Now, Sanders says he’s looking forward to working with Mayor-elect Filner.

“I think what happens is you run an election, you take positions, and then once you get elected, you start trying to come to the middle to get everybody involved,” Sanders said.

Sanders praised Filner’s choice to lead his transition team, Allen Jones, former vice president of planning and land development for real estate firm H.G. Fenton Company, as well as a reported member of his administration, CleanTECH San Diego chairman Jim Waring.

After accepting Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio’s concession, Filner reiterated his campaign promise that his administration would bring historically ignored populations into San Diego’s decision-making circle.

Vince Mudd, chair of the chamber’s search committee for a new CEO, rejected the idea that Filner’s promise should be viewed as a threat to existing power brokers in the city, such as the chamber.

“A big table, that (Filner) talked about, is good for San Diego,” he said.

Though Sanders is beginning with the chamber on Dec. 4, he’s sticking to previously announced plans to go to Italy with his wife for two months. He’s leaving at the end of January and will return at the beginning of April.

Mudd said the search committee found in Sanders someone who could give the organization “a more muscular public policy focus.”

“We looked for someone who could clear regulatory hurdles, build universal support and promote regional prosperity,” he said.

Sanders specifically mentioned the need to lobby at the federal level against sequestration, military budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 2, and in favor of border-crossing infrastructure to capture lost economic activity from extended delays.

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San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Company Website

402 West Broadway Ste., 1000
San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive(s):

Jerry Sanders

  • Chief Executive Officer, President

Ruben Barrales

  • Chief Executive Officer

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