After a nationwide search for a new president and CEO, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has stayed local, selecting American Red Cross South Florida CEO Alfred Sanchez.
“Alfred has the knowledge, relationships and connectivity within our community to forcefully represent the voice of business in South Florida,” said Christine Barney, a member of the chamber’s executive committee and former chamber chairwoman.
Sanchez will replace president and CEO Barry Johnson, who announced earlier this year that he would retire after a decade of leadership to become president of the chamber’s nonprofit arm, South Florida Progress.
That’s the strength of the chamber. It’s the diversity that we have in the membership.
Alfred Sanchez, new president and CEO of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
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The search to replace Johnson drew about 330 applicants. Barney said the chamber focused on nine criteria that included experience with organizational transformation, multicultural communities and technology.
Sanchez was born in Cuba, grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Miami 21 years ago, where he has held leadership roles at the Red Cross, YMCA of Greater Miami and Royal Caribbean International.
In an interview Tuesday, Sanchez said he plans to spend his first 100 days on the job listening to current, past and potential chamber members about ideas for adapting the chamber to meet changing needs. Of particular interest, Sanchez said, is attracting more sectors of the business community.
In his new role, Sanchez will oversee a staff of 26, more than 5,000 volunteers and 27 committees engaged with driving action on community issues and helping businesses grow.
“That’s the strength of the chamber. It’s the diversity that we have in the membership,” he said. “I want to be able to bring technology in to … give us a good picture of the engagement our members are having with the chamber and with each other. We’ve already started down that road, and I think we could do a lot more.”
In his new role, Sanchez will oversee a staff of 26, more than 5,000 volunteers and 27 committees engaged with driving action on community issues and helping businesses grow. The regional chamber serves South Florida from the Palm Beaches to the Florida Keys.
The chamber had previously announced a possible merger with the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, but Barney said that while discussions about collaboration with Fort Lauderdale are ongoing, the chamber hasn’t determined what form that collaboration will take.