For Kim Scheeler, a good run in a tough job
Kudos to the departing Kim Scheeler, above, president (until Aug. 15) of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, who after seven years in a politically charged job is leaving to run the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce in Virginia. Kudos for a job generally regarded as well done but extra kudos for moving on without a discernible boot in the backside. Those before Scheeler who ran the Tampa Chamber were not so lucky or, perhaps, so skilled. Jay Garner, Scheeler's immediate and hard-charging predecessor in Tampa, was shown the door at the start of 2001. He's moved on to Atlanta and is president and founder of an economic development consulting outfit, Competitive Strategies Group. Coincidentally, a board member of Garner's company happens to be Harvey Schmitt — himself an ex-top executive of the Tampa Chamber whose aggressive style apparently did not sit well with what was then a don't-rock-the-status-quo style of the Tampa business community. Schmitt, though, has prospered as head of the chamber in Raleigh, N.C.
As for Scheeler, 53, the Richmond Chamber says he was picked after a nine-month national search from a field of more than 100 potential candidates. And the Tampa Chamber? Steve Meyers, a real estate executive who served on the Tampa chamber board, wishes the soon-to-be-former president Scheeler well. A search committee will seek his replacement. "No matter how effective someone's been, change is always good,'' Meyers said.
Wanted: Job filled for free
Citizens Property Insurance Corp. chairman Bruce Douglas, above, is stepping down at the end of July — two months into the 2008 hurricane season — after three years serving in the unpaid but demanding position of chairman of Florida's insurer of last resort. "I leave feeling really good about our financial footing … and complaints are down dramatically," Douglas told the Times last week. "I never viewed Citizens as the company of last resort." State CFO Alex Sink will appoint the next board chair.
A new top BofA banker
Bank of America tapped Elizabeth "Liz" Ferrer as its Florida president, succeeding the retiring Susan Walker, who held the position for about a year. But Ferrer doesn't get to quit her old job. She remains BofA's national community development executive, spearheading an initiative to put $1.5-trillion to work over the next decade revitalizing neighborhoods.
Ferrer says the Florida job is an important one, but the 16 market presidents around the state do a lot of the heavy lifting. Ferrer started with Barnett Bank 24 years ago recruiting executives in South Florida. She grew up in New York and followed family members to Florida, graduating from Florida Atlantic University. "I love the state," she said.
Like Broader, Vail touts service
If Shelley Broader, top, brought creativity and risk taking to the transformation of Kash n' Karry into Sweetbay Supermarket, her replacement, Mike Vail, brings a more measured approach to fine-tune the execution day in and day out. "I'm committed to carrying on the mission Shelley started," Vail, 45, said after being named president and chief operating officer. "We'll try some new things, but our strategic positioning remains intact. It's critical we keep up the customer service focus for every customer every time."