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Durham Chamber's First Female Chief Steps Down

After 18 months as President and CEO of the Durham Chamber, Libby Barnes is leaving to be closer to her family in Spokane, Wash.

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DURHAM, N.C. — The Durham Chamber of Commerce’s first female chief is stepping down, the chamber announced Thursday.

After 18 months as President and CEO, Libby Barnes is leaving to be closer to her family in Spokane, Wash., according to the news release. Citing “pressing family needs,” her last day will be April 2.

The chamber’s executive committee has appointed Bob Zimmer, chamber chief operating officer, as interim CEO effective April 3 until a successor is named.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Barnes said. “I had set some significant goals for myself and the organization, and while we had accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, there is much more we can do. At the same time, my family will always come first.”

During her time at the chamber, a number of new programs and services were implemented. The organization celebrated its centennial year, completed a rebranding program, developed a new logo, collateral materials and Web site, and forged regional partnerships.

Barnes also serves as a vice-chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

“We’ll miss Libby a great deal, and while we wish she was able to continue her leadership role at the chamber, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors fully supports her decision to return to Spokane, WA to be with family,” said Chamber Board Chair Jerry O’Keeffe. “We wish her nothing but the best.”

Barnes assumed her position in October 2005.


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