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SLO Chamber of Commerce president leaving — search begins for her replacement

Ermina Karim is resigning as president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, effective in June.
Ermina Karim is resigning as president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, effective in June.

San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ermina Karim announced Thursday that she will resign from her position, effective June 29.

“It has been an absolute privilege to serve the Chamber,” Karim said, “and a difficult decision to make. Ultimately, I want to spend a lot more time with my daughter than I’m able to now and am grateful to be in a position to make that choice.”

Karim joined the Chamber staff in 2007 as director of governmental affairs. She became president and CEO in 2011, following the retirement of previous President Dave Garth, who held the position for 39 years.

Since then, Karim has led development of a new Economic Vision, helped the Chamber advocate for citywide ballot measures like the Measure G sales tax and the repeal of binding arbitration, as well as updates to the city’s land-use plan and paving the way for more housing in the next decade, according to a news release.

“It’s the perfect time for the Chamber to bring in fresh leadership,” Karim said. “I look forward to remaining in the community, supporting the Chamber from the sidelines and exploring new and different professional opportunities.”

The Chamber’s Board of Director’s Chair Geri LaChance said the group has appointed a search committee and will post a job description for Karim’s replacement in coming weeks.

“I know that the legislative, programmatic and financial strength of the Chamber will attract many outstanding candidates,” LaChance said. “I look forward to identifying the next steward of this 114-year-old organization.”

The Chamber is the oldest and largest voluntary organization in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, according to the release. It has nearly 1,400 members, representing more than 33,000 employees in the region.

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