Chamber Announces Executive Leadership Transition Plan

January 29, 2020

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce today announced an Executive Leadership Transition Plan as the Chamber prepares for the future and long-time President & CEO Rich Studley begins to prepare for retirement in December 2021. 

“For over 60 years, the Michigan Chamber has been a leading voice for business,” said Steve Mitchell, Chairman of the Michigan Chamber Board of Directors. “Our tradition of excellence and leadership is based on a foundation of outstanding volunteer leaders and experienced Chamber professionals who work together every day to plan for the future and keep Michigan moving forward.”

“The Executive Leadership Transition Plan announced today is part of the Michigan Chamber’s ongoing strategic planning process,” noted Mitchell. “This transition plan will position the Michigan Chamber for continued growth and effectiveness as the leading voice of business in Michigan.”

“The plan will also provide for a seamless transition to the next generation of Chamber professionals who will lead the organization on a daily basis,” added Mitchell.”

The key elements of the Chamber’s Executive Leadership Transition Plan are as follows:

Wendy Block is promoted to Vice President of Business Advocacy and Member Engagement. She will continue her leadership role with the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Team with an added focus on increasing member engagement in a wider range of Chamber programs and events. Block joined the Chamber staff in 2004. 

Bob Thomas will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer with broader responsibilities for Chamber growth, membership development and retention, and providing Chamber members with new, innovative and high-value products and services. Thomas joined the Chamber staff in 1997.

Jim Holcomb is promoted to Senior Executive Vice President of the Chamber. Holcomb joined the Chamber staff in 2008 and most recently served as Executive Vice President & General Counsel. Jim will continue as the Chamber’s General Counsel. Over the next two years Jim will be increasingly involved in leadership and management of the organization as he prepares to become the President & CEO of the Michigan Chamber on January 1, 2022. 

Studley, who is now one of the longest serving state chamber executives in the country, will continue to lead the Michigan Chamber as President & CEO until his retirement on December 31, 2021. Studley joined the Chamber staff in 1981 as Manager of Taxation and Labor Relations. From 1997 through 2004, he served as the Chamber’s chief lobbyist and Senior Vice President of Government Relations. Studley was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2005. On July 1, 2008, Studley became only the third President & CEO to lead the Michigan Chamber since 1959.

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