George Israel III, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, announced Wednesday he’s retiring, according to a chamber news release.Israel, who also served as Macon’s mayor from 1979 to 1987, made the announcement to the chamber’s Board of Directors.
Israel joined the chamber in 2002 and is lauded for bringing political and business expertise to the organization. Georgia Trend Magazine named him Georgian of the Year in 2006.
“George was the right leader at the right time for the Georgia Chamber,” Suzanne Sitherwood, Chamber board chairwoman and president of Atlanta Gas Light, said in the news release.
“His experience and political savvy allowed him to successfully navigate us through times of both political change and economic downturn. We are fortunate that he was willing to give us eight years and will benefit from the foundation he built for years to come.”
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Israel said he’s proud of the accomplishments made during his tenure.
“I’m leaving an organization that is strong financially, well-positioned politically, and laser focused on the issues most important to the businesses of our state,” he said in the news release. “While I have determined that it is time for me to make a change, I do so with full confidence that the future is bright for both me and the chamber.”
Israel was active with both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of State Chambers.
“Replacing George will not be easy,” Mike Garrett, 2009 chamber board chairman and Georgia Power president and CEO, said in the news release.
“I have known and worked with him for a long time and there are few people who have dedicated as much time and energy toward the betterment of our state.”
During Israel’s time as chamber leader, the organization maintained a robust membership, raised more than $1 million for the 48th Infantry Brigade of the Georgia National Guard, and raised $7.5 million during the chamber’s Georgia Initiative campaign to augment the organization’s policy, communications and government affairs programs, the news release stated.
Israel will remain with the organization until a replacement can be identified.
To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.