Ermina Karim, 38, has been named the new president and chief executive officer of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.
She will assume her position when longtime president David Garth retires July 1. Karim, selected from among 300 applicants, has most recently been the chamber’s vice president of governmental affairs and economic development.
The selection committee charged with screening applicants spent 27 hours interviewing finalists and more than 150 hours of committee review and discussion before presenting Karim to the chamber’s board of directors for final approval Thursday.
Karim will oversee 10 full-time and four part-time employees as well as facilitate services for the chamber’s 1,400 members.
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Garth, 64, announced his retirement in January after 38 years as the chamber’s leader. During his tenure, the chamber has grown from 250 members and a budget of less than $30,000 to more than 1,400 members and a $1.5 million budget.
Garth is paid an annual salary of $120,000. Karim did not disclose her salary Thursday.
Karim’s accomplishments at the chamber include providing organizational leadership to the recent No on H campaign, which soundly defeated a measure that would have stopped a planned extension of Prado Road, crafting the chamber’s economic vision published in 2010 and expanding the nonprofit’s advocacy countywide.
Before joining the chamber staff in 2007, Karim worked as a business reporter for The Tribune.
“Ermina is highly regarded locally for her adept political and business skills and as a trusted communicator — she’s got it all,” chamber Chairman Michael Gunther said in a statement Thursday.
Karim said she will continue to hone existing chamber strategies that have proved to work in the past years and look for opportunities to strengthen the chamber’s role in promoting business.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.