Just a year after being hired, Steven Weathers will step down as president and chief executive of the San Diego World Trade Center next Wednesday, reportedly for family reasons.
Samuel Kephart, who was hired in July as marketing director, will take over as interim president and chief executive until the center's board of directors selects a permanent replacement.
“We are excited to have Mr. Kephart’s global perspective on business and his creative skills to help grow trade in the San Diego region,” said Stephen Austin, who chairs the board.
Austin said that during Kephart's five months at the center, he has already pioneered new strategies to expand its reach. "He has an excellent team and board to work with while continuing to make the WTCSD an effective business facilitator,” he said.
Weathers, who was hired as CEO in mid-November 2012, moved to San Diego shortly after the Thanksgiving holidays from Georgia, where he headed the Savannah Economic Development Authority and Savannah World Trade Center.
At the time, he came alone, planning for his family to join him in spring. But the family never made a full transition to California, prompting Weathers to return to the Southeast, said Janice Sherlock, a public relations consultant for the center.
Weathers could not be reached for comment.
Kephart, a veteran sales and media executive who has run his own consulting firm for 10 years, was hired in summer to assist with branding, marketing and finding new sources of strategic revenue.
As president of Global Factors Inc., an export management company trading in specialty chemicals in the mid 1970s, Kephart became a charter member of the San Diego World Trade Association, the region’s first formal international business network.
Among his other positions, he has presided as both president and chairman of the San Diego Digital Multimedia Association, which represented 140 companies in the digital content production and distribution fields. He has also worked in the security, television production and real estate tax consulting industries.
Hugh Constant, executive vice president for trade services, said the staff was looking forward to "the synergies (Kephart) will bring to the job to take the World Trade Center to the next level."
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Feb. 2, 2012 -- George Chamberlin speaks with James Zimmerman, a partner at law firm Sheppard Mullin, during the eighth annual China Business Outlook Conference, hosted by World Trade Center San Diego. Zimmerman touched on doing business in China and inflation.
Aug. 31, 2011 -- Executive Editor George Chamberlin speaks with Bella Huele, president and CEO of World Trade Center San Diego, about the work the WTC performs and plans for the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.