Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce CEO resigns

Paul Wright to take another job after a six-month tenure at the Chamber

The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce is once again looking for a new leader after its president announced Thursday that he is resigning after just six months on the job.

Paul Wright, who was hired as the president and CEO of the local Chamber in December, said in a statement that he is leaving to pursue another business opportunity.

Wright said he "received an offer I couldn't refuse" with a consulting project involving a former business partner. Wright told the Weekly he will be joining J.M. Perry Learning, a Ventura-based company that once employed him. Wright said he will work on a project that entails training and coaching 110 admissions counselors for an online university.

His resignation is effective July 13.

Wright joined the Chamber shortly after his predecessor, Paula Sandas, stepped down from the organization's top position in October 2011. He replaced her on an interim basis before being hired as permanent CEO.

Rebecca Teutschel, who chairs the Board of Directors at the Chamber, said the organization will be immediately launching a search for a new president and CEO. In a statement, she also had words of praise for Wright's brief tenure.

"In his short time as President/CEO, Paul has been instrumental in helping the Chamber implement some new processes, develop a well thought-out and viable membership drive program and improved the Chamber's visibility through his facilitation of member outreach activities," Teutschel said in a statement.

Wright said he is pleased with the direction the Chamber has taken in recent years.

"There is a strong foundation to continue to have the Chamber grow," Wright told the Weekly. "We're in growth mode, which is incredibly positive."


Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 15, 2012 at 9:02 am

Palo Alto is too small to be able survive the shifts in the business environment that are on-going because of the disrupting effects of the Internet, and shifts in global markets—particularly to India and China. Even if Palo Alto is popular with the tech industry start-up crowd, the Chamber of Commerce is not all that valuable for them when they are only going to be here for a few years, don’t have any products to sell, and either fold, or move to a place that offers them room for growth, and has a government that is more business friendly than Palo Alto.

Given these realities, it’s hard to see a lot of value for a Chamber in a town that will probably not see a lot of new retail appearing in the downtown area to replace businesses that are at the end of their business lifetime (like analog photography shops, or book stores).

Given these realities, there will probably be a number of short-termed presidents at the Chamber in the coming years.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 16, 2012 at 12:09 am

Oh no! Global market realities spell the end of Palo Alto? Quick, everybody move to China or India.

Evidently over 500 member entities continue to see value in the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce. ABAG tells us that jobs vastly outnumber housing here. To employ so many people, our businesses must be still producing a disproportionate amount of goods and services.

Like this comment
Posted by Guest
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

"Wright said he "received an offer I couldn't refuse" ...he will work on a project that entails training and coaching 110 admissions counselors [read salespeople] for an online university [read bottom-of-barrel diploma mill]."

This alone says it all about the gig at PA Chamber.

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