Chamber Names New President and CEO

February 8, 2011

CHARLESTON, SC – February 8, 2011 – The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce announced that Bryan Derreberry has been named President and CEO of the Chamber. Derreberry is currently President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in Wichita, Kansas. He will assume the position in Charleston, April 2011.

As released in July, Charles H. Van Rysselberge, the President and CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce for over eight years announced his plans to retire on March 31, 2011.
In making his announcement, Van Rysselberge said that this selected retirement date will coincide with his ninth anniversary at the Charleston Metro Chamber, and his 40th anniversary of the beginning of a wonderful Chamber management career.

Derreberry was one of six finalists and the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Executive Committee approved the Search Committee’s selection this week.  Derreberry was contacted about the position by a national search firm retained by the Charleston Metro Chamber to conduct their candidate search.

“This search was a very thoughtful process. Charles has taken the Chamber to new heights of success during his almost nine years at the helm. Due in no small part to his leadership, the Chamber was recognized recently as one of the top three chambers in the United States,” explained Robert W. Pearce Jr., Charleston Metro Chamber Chairman of the Board “The search committee feels Bryan is the best choice to keep the Charleston Metro Chamber and the Charleston community on its current path of economic success and growth.”

Derreberry became the President and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce in October 2003.  The Wichita Chamber is the largest metropolitan business organization, in Kansas, representing nearly 1,500 businesses and 125,000 employees. Derreberry oversees a staff of 29 and an annual operating budget of $4.5 million.

One of Derreberry’s first assignments in Wichita was to successfully lead the private sector’s financial support of the new Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC). This inaugural economic development campaign raised a record $3.7 million which was utilized to fund the Chamber’s eight economic and workforce development staff members for a five-year term.  This program is now in its second five-year funding installment. 

“I strongly believe that Chambers of Commerce must lead their community’s quality of place transformation efforts. Business, talent, and intelligence are all drawn to attractive and engaging communities,” shared Derreberry. “Charleston’s natural aesthetic beauty, incredible downtown, strong South Carolina business setting, diverse business clusters, and national brand identification make for a winning economic and community development environment.”

Nationally, Derreberry serves on the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and has assisted this organization with its strategic planning efforts.  He is a Notre Dame Graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Management Program and was in the Ford Foundation’s inaugural Sustainable Regional Development Fellows program.

Derreberry is a magna cum laude graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  He has completed graduate course work toward a combined MA/PhD in American Politics and International Relations from American University in Washington DC.  He and his wife, Gail, are proud parents of three children.