Hello, Goodbye: Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Resigns

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 04, 2009 - 06:38:00 PM

The new CEO for the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce has left before he even arrived.  

In an e-mail to chamber members Friday, Sept. 4, chamber vice chair Rod Howard announced that Gian Paulo Mammone will not be taking the job offered to him a month ago.  

“I regret to inform you that Gian Paulo Mammone, our recent selection for the CEO position of the Berkeley Chamber, due to personal reasons, has decided not to take the position,” said Howard, who is also serving as the chair of the CEO search team. “Although we were disappointed in his decision, we wish Mr. Mammone all the best in his future endeavors.”  

The Daily Planet reported Aug. 13 that the chamber had appointed a new CEO after a four-month search for a replacement.  

Mammone was scheduled to take over from interim CEO Kevin Allen, who was filling the position after the chamber suddenly removed the previous CEO, Ted Garrett, in March.  

Few reasons were given for Garrett’s dismissal, except that the chamber was aspiring to move in a new direction.  

The same reason was given by Oregon's Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce, when they decided to terminate Mammone’s position as its executive director.  

Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jonathan DeYoe told the Planet during an interview in August that the chamber’s hiring committee was aware of Mammone’s termination from his earlier job and had talked to Lincoln City chamber officials about the reasons behind his dismissal.  

“We are confident that the issues that he [Mammone] had in Lincoln City, which is a very small city, will be deeply embraced in Berkeley,” DeYoe said. “We are very excited to have him here.”   

In an e-mail to the Daily Planet Tuesday, DeYoe said that the chamber “believed that Gian Paolo would have been an excellent fit and still understand that sometimes we each must make difficult choices. It just so happens that one of his difficult choices was to make the decision, for personal reasons, to pass on the Berkeley Chamber opportunity.” 

  DeYoe said the chamber’s Executive Committee will reform the search team and start over on the search. 

  “We continue to believe that the right candidate is out there and we look forward to making their acquaintance,” he said. 

E-mails to Howard were not returned by press time. Mammone could not be reached for comment immediately.  

Howard said in his e-mail that the chamber’s executive board will convene Sept. 8 to plan a new search process to “find the right CEO for this special role in this special city.”  

Howard said that he was confident that the chamber’s support staff would be perfectly capable of running the office and serving the needs of its members as the hiring team “re-starts the search process once again.”  

“We also have a phenomenal, active board at this time, so we will continue to be strong advocates for you and for business, and a positive force for thoughtful change in the city,” Howard said. “Thank you again for your support during this transition, and we will keep you up to date on our new pursuit of this important role.”