Lansing’s Michigan Chamber of Commerce Announces Leadership Transition Plan

The Lansing-based Michigan Chamber of Commerce has announced an executive leadership transition plan as longtime president and CEO Rich Studley prepares for his Dec. 31, 2021 retirement.
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Rich Studley, Jim Holcomb
Jim Holcomb, right, will take over as president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce when Rich Studley, left, retires at the end of December 2021. // Photos courtesy of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce

The Lansing-based Michigan Chamber of Commerce has announced an executive leadership transition plan as longtime president and CEO Rich Studley prepares for his Dec. 31, 2021 retirement.

“For over 60 years, the Michigan Chamber has been a leading voice for business,” says Steve Mitchell, chairman of the Michigan Chamber board of directors. “… The executive leadership transition plan … is part of the Michigan Chamber’s ongoing strategic planning process. 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.”

Studley is one of the longest serving state chamber executives in the country. He joined the staff in 1981 as manager of taxation and labor relations. From 1997-2004, he served as the chamber’s chief lobbyist and senior vice president of government relations. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2005 and became the third president and CEO of the organization on July 1, 2008.

As part of the plan, Jim Holcomb is preparing to become president and CEO of the chamber on Jan. 1, 2022. In the meantime, he has been promoted the senior executive vice president. He joined the staff in 2008 and most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel. He will continue as the chamber’s general counsel and, over the next two years, will be increasingly involved in leadership and management of the organization.

Wendy Block has been 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. She joined the staff in 2004.

Bob Thomas will continue to serve as COO with broader responsibilities for chamber growth, membership development and retention, and providing chamber members with products and services. He joined the staff in 1997.

The chamber is statewide business organization representing nearly 5,800 employers, trade associations, and local chambers of commerce that employ more than 1 million Michigan residents. It was established in 1959 to be an advocate for Michigan’s job providers in the legislative, political, and legal process.

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