The leader of the largest chamber of commerce in the Monadnock Region will retire later this year, the organization announced Tuesday.
Phil Suter, the president and CEO of the Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber, will stay until the board of directors finds a successor, which he expects will be sometime this summer.
“The timing is a little bit vague, and it’s intentionally so, in order to give the board ample time to find a successor, and to make sure there’s a smooth transition,” Suter said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
In a news release from the chamber announcing his retirement, Suter said the position, which he has held since the fall of 2013 when he succeeded Laura Keith King, “is and has been a dream job for me — always challenging and interesting.”
“The opportunity to serve the business community in the Monadnock Region is a real honor,” he said in a prepared statement. “There’s no better place in the country to live, work, learn and play than this special corner of New Hampshire. Chamber members, and the board that represents them, were amazing before the pandemic hit, and they’ve demonstrated that more than ever in the past year. But it’s time for me to move on to the next phase of my life.”
Suter, 68, said he plans to continue living in Peterborough after his retirement. Before then, he said, his top priorities include helping to lead the chamber, and the local business community, out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continuing to oversee a smooth integration of the Keene and Peterborough chambers, which merged late last year.
“And we’re making great progress on that, so I don’t see any speed bumps there or any issues,” Suter said of the merger. “It just takes some time.”
The Greater Keene & Peterborough Chamber has more than 500 members, Suter said. (The Sentinel is a chamber member.)
Before his retirement, Suter said he also wants to continue the chamber’s efforts to promote the region, including through a multi-year marketing campaign that the organization has launched with the help of federal coronavirus relief funding. The chamber has begun the campaign with the ”Why we love it here” series of online videos, which feature local business and community leaders discussing their favorite aspects of the Monadnock Region.
Chamber board Chairman Tom Minkler said in the news release that the organization plans to start the search for Suter’s successor immediately.
“We are grateful for Phil’s leadership during his tenure,” Minkler said. “His creativity and tenacity have brought the Chamber to the next level. From the establishment of our Regional Issues Series program, and the launch of our effort to promote our region to the world, to the recent merger with the Chamber in Peterborough, Phil never stops pushing us all to be better, and for the region to be as good as we all know it is. It’s on us all to continue that..