A century after the start of its activities, the United States Chamber of Commerce has its first female CEO in the person of Suzanne Clark
The United States Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday appointed Suzanne Clark as CEO, effective March 11, 2021. By accepting this position, Clark will become the first woman to lead the organization in its 109-year history.
Clark, who has served as President of the US Chamber since 2019, will retain his title as well as that of CEO. She will succeed Thomas J. Donohue, who has held the position for 24 years. The United States Chamber of Commerce is the largest business federation in the world and represents more than 3 million businesses, including state and local chambers and industry associations.
In his current role, Clark has led a multi-year effort to strengthen the influence, advocacy and impact of the United States Chamber, in addition to modernizing its work and attracting new members to the organization. She is also recognized for helping to improve relations with state and local organizations of chambers of commerce. As president, she leads a team of nearly 500 people and advocates for companies to foster a strong economy.
“I am honored to lead the United States House at a time when our members need us most,” Clark said in a declaration. This need runs deep: About 30% of U.S. small businesses say they likely won’t survive 2021 without additional government help, according to a recent Federal Reserve Bank report investigation which was carried out six months after the start of the pandemic. With roughly 30 million small US businesses, that means some 9 million are at risk of going out of business. US businesses face the uncertainty of the pandemic, the challenges of a recession and uneven recovery, sweeping changes in government leadership and policy, and near-constant disruption brought on by technological advancements. fast, ”Clark added. “With these challenges come huge opportunities for businesses to serve people and communities in new ways, create a stronger and more competitive economy, and innovate for the future.
Clark held a wide range of leadership roles in the Chamber from 1997 to 2007, including that of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining the organization in 2014, Clark acquired and led the financial information company Potomac Research Group. Prior to that, she was president of consulting firm National Journal Group, where she led the business through digital transformation.
Clark’s appointment is aligned with the recent trend of more and more companies hiring women for CEO roles. While the number of female CEOs has nearly quadrupled over the past decade, according to annual volatility from executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates report in 2020, there is still a long way to go to close the gender gap. Of the 682 CEO positions of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies at the time of Crist Kolder’s report, only 44, or 6.5%, were held by women in 2020, compared to 6.1% in 2019, 4.9% in 2018 and a meager 1.9%. in 2010.
In a Publish On the US House website after his appointment was announced, Clark wrote his vision for the future of the organization. “As I prepare to take on the leadership role as the next President and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, I look to all of these companies, large and small, for the inspiring examples they set. and for the ideas and innovations they keep pushing forward, ”she wrote. “Because the forward is the only direction to take. “
United States House Board Chairman Christopher Lofgren said in a statement, “Clark has extensive management experience in the United States House leadership and a timely vision and powerful in how the organization can partner with US companies to expand the global impact of the US Chamber of Commerce. and influence for years to come.