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Tampa chamber chief Kim Scheeler lured to take job in Virginia

Kim Scheeler, president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce for seven years, is leaving in August to run the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Scheeler said he couldn't pass up a chance to run the three-county business group in the Virginia capital. Richmond recruited him for the job about two months ago, and Scheeler accepted Thursday. His last day in Tampa is August 15.

"Unfortunately I have to leave Tampa, while I'm not too thrilled about that," the 53-year-old Indiana native said. "My wife and I thought we would probably retire from here."

His is the second high-level departure from a chamber eager to improve its performance in recruiting businesses to the region. Myron Hughes, vice president of economic development, left in February to run the alumni association at the University of Cincinnati. Scheeler's role shrunk when business leaders who run the chamber's board decided Hughes' successor would no longer answer directly to Scheeler.

Instead, the Committee of 100, the chamber's business recruitment arm, would operate largely independently of the larger organization.

Scheeler's been a Tampa fixture since taking over as head of the local United Way in 1995. During his chamber tenure, he helped stabilize the 2,000-member organization's finances. Under predecessor Jay Garner, the business group ran a deficit of $400,000.

"I have not got any inkling that the board was anything but pleased with my performance," Scheeler said.

Steve Meyers, a real estate executive who served on the chamber board during Scheeler's tenure, wished the soon-to-be-former president well. A search committee will seek out Scheeler's replacement.

"No matter how effective someone's been, change is always good,'' Meyers said.

Tampa chamber chief Kim Scheeler lured to take job in Virginia 06/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 20, 2008 6:28am]
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