Jim Lynch has been terminated as chief executive officer (CEO) of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, effective August 31st.

Lynch had been head of the chamber for ten months. He replaced Kathryn Dodson, who had resigned to accept a position in Texas as director of Economic Development for the City of El Paso.

“I don’t want to go into details,” said Tom Larmore, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, who handled all media inquiries. “It’s just that we felt that the job was not a good fit for him and that we needed to go in a different direction.”

Attempts by The Argonaut to reach Lynch were unsuccessful.

A search for a new CEO is under way. The chamber has engaged the Staff Support recruitment firm to conduct the search for a replacement. The firm’s president is former chamber chair Linda Tisherman.

The chamber’s chief financial officer (CFO), Brenda Katz, will serve as interim CEO.

“She’s terrific,” says Larmore of Katz.

Larmore isn’t sure when a new CEO will be on board.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “We want to be careful” to select the right candidate.

The chamber started interviewing candidates this week and Larmore predicts there will be a new CEO in place by the end of this month.

“We want someone who is creative and energetic, has good management and leadership skills and works well with people,” Larmore said. “One of the strengths we are looking for is that they can continue to maintain and hopefully enhance our very good working relationship with the city and the city manager, Lamont Ewell.

“But the main function for this job is to oversee the operations of the chamber and the events that we do.”

An “entrepreneurial spirit” is also important — someone who can “build the chamber’s membership so we can provide more services for our members,” says Larmore. “That’s the important ingredient we’re looking for.”

Currently, the chamber has about 950 members.

During this time of change, Larmore says he thinks things are “running very well.”

Larmore credits this to the chamber’s “very good staff.”

“We’re very proud of them,” he says. “They’re all energetic and creative.”

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