COLUMBIA, SC – June 30, 2008 – Today the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced the promotion of Otis Rawl to president and CEO, effective October 1, 2008. Rawl succeeds S. Hunter Howard, Jr. who spent 17 years building the South Carolina Chamber into one of the state’s most powerful and successful advocacy groups.
Rawl joined the South Carolina Chamber in 2001 as vice president of public policy. In 2004, he was named chief operating officer, and has been in charge of the Chamber’s overall operations including public policy, legislative affairs, work force development, administration, membership, and communications.
Prior to joining the South Carolina Chamber, Rawl worked with the South Carolina Department of Revenue for 23 years. He retired on November 30, 2001 as the deputy director for revenue and regulatory operations. In addition to his work at the Department of Revenue, Rawl served a six-month term with the South Carolina State Treasurer performing legislative work on several major tax bills and local reporting of debt limits. Also, the Governor of South Carolina appointed him as chief of staff of the Department of Public Safety in 1995.
A native of Lexington, South Carolina, Rawl graduated from the University of South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of Government and International Studies with a major in Public Administration and minors in English and History.
The State Chamber is the voice of business in South Carolina. Otis has a unique ability to quickly understand issues vital to the business community and our members. As the new voice of the Chamber, he will passionately communicate the Chamber’s position to South Carolina’s decision makers and decision leaders, said Jim Micali, chairman of the board of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and chairman and president of Michelin North America. On behalf of all of our members, I want to thank Coleman Lew & Associates for their work in helping the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee find and select such a talented individual.
The executive committee of the South Carolina Chamber Board of Directors retained Coleman Lew & Associates to conduct a nationwide executive search. More than 400 leaders from businesses, government, community affairs, and state and city chambers were contacted about the position. Out of this pool of candidates, more than 20 candidates were personally interviewed by the executive search firm. A short list of 10 candidates was presented to the South Carolina Chamber search committee who selected five candidates for personal, face-to-face interviews. The search committee presented the final candidate to the South Carolina Chamber Executive Committee, which unanimously approved Rawl as the new CEO.
“Every good business has a leadership succession plan designed to ensure effective continuity,” said Harris DeLoach, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sonoco. “With the elevation of the Chamber’s Chief Operating Officer to the position of CEO it demonstrates that we did have a good succession plan in place. Even after a national search and a comprehensive interview of five finalists, Otis Rawl emerged as the compelling choice.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with talented people throughout my career. Otis Rawl has always been one of the most talented individuals that I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” said S. Hunter Howard, Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. “I’m leaving the Chamber with the knowledge that we have found the right person to help our membership and the business community continue to find success in the global marketplace. With his leadership I am sure that the Chamber and business community will lead the way in growing individual wealth for our citizens.”
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s first state chamber Accredited with Distinction by the U.S. Chamber, is the state’s largest statewide broad-based business and industry trade association representing more than 6,500 member companies and more than 600,000 member employees, with 90 percent of membership comprised of small businesses. As the unified voice for business and industry, the Chamber is a catalyst for increasing per capita income and enhancing the state’s global competitiveness in order to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians. www.scchamber.net.