ENCINITAS — The Chamber of Commerce has its third CEO in as many years with the hiring of Marshall Weinreb.
His contract began July 1, with an annual salary of $40,000 and bonus incentives to be reviewed annually.
Weinreb’s appointment comes five months after the abrupt resignation of former CEO Gary Tucker, who served in the position for approximately two years.
In Tucker’s resignation letter sent to the board Jan. 23, he cited declining revenue from returning members, loss of faith in the board’s leadership and the executive committee’s refusal to follow the bylaws of the organization as reasons for his departure.
Weinreb, 66, said he is familiar with the lingering doubts and hard feelings some have expressed about the chamber. He said it is part of what intrigued him about the position. “I want to uncover where the problems stem from,” he said. “There is an opportunity to bring a new level of cohesiveness and understanding between all of the relevant players.”
Weinreb’s task of repairing damaged relationships won’t be an easy one. Several board members resigned within the last months and longtime contractor Mike Andreen, who was responsible for bringing in new members and marketing, has launched a new chamber this week focused on the businesses within the El Camino Real corridor.
As a self-described “people person,” Weinreb said one of his main objectives is to “offer a truce.”
“All differences can be resolved when we are working towards the common good,” Weinreb said. “We should put personal differences aside to make this the best business climate possible.”
Several business and civic organizations exist to support the five communities that comprise the city. Weinreb said he wants to understand what the needs are in each business community to help the city thrive as a whole. “We’re trying to redefine partnerships,” he said. “At the end of the day we’re all part of the same community.”
Weinreb said his background as an entrepreneur and high-level executive prepares him for the challenges that lay ahead in restoring confidence in the chamber. The native New Yorker moved to La Costa in 1999, after two decades in Dallas, Texas. He retired in 2005 to care for his wife, Marcia, who succumbed to a long-fought illness recently.
Chamber president Ken Gross said Weinreb will oversee the organization’s implementation of adding “value” to what the members receive. “We take what the businesses can’t afford to do and help them achieve it,” he said.
Gross cited the marketing efforts of the chamber on behalf of its members. “Through the Encinitas First publication, our Sundowner events and the Web site, we help businesses reach potential customers without spending a huge amount of their budgets on marketing,” he said.
Weinreb will also oversee the visitor’s center, which is operated by the chamber with partial funding from the city’s general fund. Gross said a manager will be appointed specifically to handle visitors center business. City Council recently renewed the city’s annual contract to fund the center to the tune of approximately $80,400.