Ron Harr announced today that he will retire as president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, effective July 1, at the advisement of his doctor.
Harr, who turns 60 in May, said he was recently diagnosed with extreme hypertension during a recent routine health examination.
"While this condition is very treatable, my family history suggests potentially serious risk factors," said Harr, whose father died of a stroke at age 39. "As a result, my doctor recommends removing myself from full-time employment as the best chance to extend my life. After discussions with my family, I believe my best course of action is to resign my post at the Chamber."
Howard Levine, chair of the Chamber board, expressed his appreciation for Harr's efforts and said he will convene a transition committee and begin a search for a new Chamber CEO this week.
"Ron has done an outstanding job for us during his tenure as president and CEO," Levine said. "He's handled many challenging situations while growing the Chamber's membership and keeping us on track to meet our 2015 job creation goals."
The Chamber currently has a record high 1,806 members and is more than half way toward meeting its 4-year job growth goal of working to add at least 15,000 goals by June 2015 through the $10.2 million "Can Do" campaign.
"We're fortunate that we can continue to count on Ron to lead the day-to-day operations of the Chamber," Levine said in a statement today. "But, we will work quickly to manage this change and fill this critical leadership position."