Jonathan Perman has announced plans to resign as executive director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

In a letter distributed to chamber members by Chamber President-elect Dan Mennemeyer, Perman says that after nearly 19 years heading the business group, “I strongly feel the time has come for fresh leadership and for, perhaps, a new vision.”

Mennemeyer, in an e-mail message accompanying the letter, said the chamber’s board had not asked for Perman’s resignation.

The chamber recently moved from its long-time offices on the 8th floor of the Rotary International tower to a basement space in a building at 1840 University Place.

And Mennemeyer and other chamber leaders have developed plans to have individual business owners rather than Perman be the public face of the group.

In his letter, Perman said he plans to stay on as executive director while the group searches for his replacement and as he looks for “new paths and directions” for his career.

The Evanston chamber, which was established 91 years ago, currently has about 575 member companies.

Update 7:20 p.m.: In a phone interview this evening, Perman said he can’t reveal details of his future plans yet but that he’ll be doing something “much more entrepreneurial, that won’t involve running a membership organization.”

“It’s been a long and fun run” with the chamber, he added, “but I want to move on to do other things.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Corrections

    The announcement was distributed by Mr. Perman directly to the board.  A formal public announcement will be offered by Mr. Perman and the Chamber Executive Board today. 

    The initiative "Faces of the Chamber"  was introduced by our current President, Steve Hagerty, and is being coordinated by many board members, including Mr. Hagerty,  Marketing Coordinator, Rebecca Bernek and myself.

  2. Replace from within!

    My vote for the new executive director is Brooke Saucier, who currently works for the Chamber of Commerce, and is known to many Evanstonians as a master at networking and could bring a fresh vision to the leadership position of the Chamber of Commerce.

  3. The chamber of commerce

    The chamber of commerce has very little net effect on Evanston’s commerical well-being. 

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