Chattanooga Chamber Names Charles Wood Interim President and CEO

Charles Wood will serve as Interim President and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Janelle Reilly, Board Chair, announced today.

“With more than 10 years’ experience here in Chattanooga and Hamilton County and having served in key economic development positions over 20 years, Charles Wood will provide consistent, strategic leadership during this critical transition time,” Reilly said. “We’re pleased he accepted the Interim role.”  

The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the Chamber has begun to develop the search process for the Chattanooga Chamber’s next President and CEO, Reilly said.

“Stepping into an interim leadership role in our amazing community is an honor and a privilege,” Wood said. “As the voice for business in our area, we will continue to work together with our community partners to execute our 5-year economic and talent development plan, as well as champion our member businesses.”

“I’d also like to thank our Chattanooga Chamber boards and staff. They are dedicated professionals who are intensely focused on supporting our members and our mission.”

President and CEO Christy Gillenwater begins her new role in Oklahoma in January 2023, as announced last week. Gillenwater and Wood will continue to work together in November and December along with the senior leadership team to ensure a seamless transition, Reilly said.

Wood joined the Chattanooga Chamber in 2012 and has worked alongside several City government and Hamilton County government administrations. He led the creation of the Chattanooga Chamber’s first economic and talent development strategy and supported the creation of more than 14,000 jobs and billions of dollars of investment in the Chattanooga region. Prior to joining the Chattanooga Chamber he held positions at chambers of commerce in Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama as well as economic development positions in Texas and Mississippi.

As Interim President and CEO, Wood will oversee programs and services of the Chattanooga Chamber and Chamber Foundation.

About the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce

The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading business association and economic development organization for the Chattanooga region. Founded in 1887, the Chattanooga Chamber’s membership consists of nearly 1,900 companies of all sizes which employ more than 100,000 people.

About the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation

The Chamber Foundation is a separate but related entity established in 1969 for the purpose of economic development, which it carries out through a public-private partnership, Chattanooga Climbs. The Chattanooga Chamber has won many national awards for recruitment, marketing and existing industry support and is accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with five stars.

The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Foundation both support a common mission to champion member businesses and promote regional economic growth

Learn more about Chattanooga Chamber’s programs and services through the Annual Report, here.  Learn more about Christy Gillenwater’s new role at Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, here.

Programs and services within the Chattanooga Chamber include: Public Policy, serving as the voice of businesses in the policy arena and seeking to be a dynamic, constructive partner in the policy-making process; the Chattanooga Chamber’s 12 area councils, which support businesses in specific geographic areas of Greater Chattanooga; the Chamber Ambassador program, consisting of volunteers assisting in member retention, including recruiting and mentoring, as well as ribbon cuttings and other events; Chamber memberships, which connect member businesses with resources, customers and networking opportunities designed to support their success. As well as keeping members and community engaged through six Signature Events and quarterly AM Networking and Business After Hours events. The Marketing and Communications team advances the organization’s nation and international visibility and brand reputation. 

Programs and services of the Chamber Foundation include: Economic Development, which continues to attract and retain companies and talent to the region; Talent Development, responsible for strengthening talent pipelines through development of a skilled and diverse workforce; and identifying opportunities to support the retention and expansion of existing companies. As well, this includes the INCubator program in the Hamilton County Business Development Center on Northshore.

Leadership development and talent retention programs include Protégé, Young Professionals of Chattanooga, ChattaNewbies, Leadership Chattanooga and Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association. Diversity Equity and Inclusion Programs include the Minority Financial Literary Series and DEI Procurement Pilot.

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