Chamber President & CEO Announces Retirement

After 12 years of service in Los Angeles, and more than 43 as a chamber executive, Gary Toebben set to retire from his position on July 1, 2018

November 9, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, at a meeting of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, President & CEO Gary Toebben announced he will retire from his position on July 1, 2018. Toebben, who has had a distinguished, 43-year career as a chamber executive, has led L.A.’s largest business organization for 12 years.

“Serving as President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has been the capstone of my 43 years in the chamber profession. Every day in Los Angeles has been an honor to work side by side with a talented and dedicated staff, and a board of directors and members who care so much about the future of the City and County of Los Angeles,” said Toebben.

Following Toebben’s announcement, Chamber Board Chair Steve Nissen of NBCUniversal commented, “Gary has provided great leadership to the Chamber and he has prepared us well for the next chapter of the Chamber’s mission. Indeed, at every stop of Gary’s illustrious career as a Chamber CEO, he has left the organization he led in far better shape than the organization he inherited. That career began as CEO of the North Platte, Nebraska Chamber in 1975 (6 years), continued with the Lawrence, Kansas Chamber in 1981 (18 years) until he was recruited away by the North Kentucky Regional Chamber covering 39 cities in 1999 (7 years), and culminated with our hiring Gary in 2006 after an extensive national search.”

Under Toebben’s leadership, the Chamber greatly expanded its resource base, created the Bixel Exchange to support and engage tech entrepreneurs; enhanced the influence of the Chamber’s Jobs PAC; established the Chamber’s Center for Global Trade and Foreign Investment; expanded the Southern California Leadership Network to help prepare future civic leaders; reinvigorated the Junior Chamber of Commerce by reimagining and restructuring it as Next LA; and developed nationally recognized education and workforce development programs that are impacting thousands of young people every day.

Additional highlights of Toebben’s accomplishments during his 12-year tenure in L.A. include:

  • Successfully sponsored legislative redistricting, which put in place the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission.
  • Spearheaded the effort, in concert with the L.A. County Federation of Labor, to initiate term limit reform for state legislators, leading to a more stable and functional legislature (2012).
  • Championed updates to the master plan for LAX, which led to the ability to make necessary improvements at LAX and break the cycle of litigation that stymied progress at Southern California’s major airport (2013).
  • Championed the business community’s efforts in support of Measure R (2008) and Measure M (2016) to accelerate county-wide transportation projects.
  • Successfully led the business community’s support for City Measure HHH (2016) and County Measure H (2017) to provide services and facilities for the homeless, all of which was preceded by an historic partnership with the United Way to create “Home for Good” (2009) to develop effective community responses to end homelessness.
  • Successfully led the business sector efforts to defeat Measure S, which would have put an end to meaningful economic development in the City of L.A. (2017).  

This month, the Chamber’s Board will establish a committee to conduct a nationwide search for Toebben’s replacement. That search committee will be led by incoming Board Chair Michelle Kerrick of Deloitte and 2019 Board Chair Jerry Neuman of DLA Piper LLP.


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