The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce will install the first female leader in the organization’s history this summer.
The Chamber’s Board of Directors announced the appointment of Maria Salinas as the organization’s president and CEO, effective Aug. 1.
Current President and CEO Gary Toebben will retire on July 1 after leading the Chamber for 12 years.
Salinas is president of Salinas Consulting, a finance and accounting project management firm she founded in 2006, after holding financial leadership roles at The Walt Disney Co. for nearly 11 years.
She gained public accounting experience working with Ernst & Young LLP, and served as director and former chairwoman of ProAmerica Bank.
The Pasadena resident and mother of four chairs the Board of Regents at Loyola Marymount University, her alma mater; serves on the Board of Directors at UnidosUS; and holds a board position at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.
“Maria has the unique combination of financial acumen and sound leadership skills paired with an entrepreneurial spirit that makes her the perfect choice to lead the Chamber,” said Michelle Kerrick, the chamber’s board chair. “On top of this, she has deep community involvement and an insurmountable passion for seeing this city prosper well into the future. As a lifelong Angeleno, we are confident Maria will champion diversity and bring our communities closer together.”
Salinas was the unanimous choice of a search committee comprised of members of the Chamber’s Executive Committee as well as independent non-chamber members. Her varied experience in the private sector with a major corporation, as an entrepreneur, a corporate director and community and civic leader, gave her the edge, according to Jerry Neuman, co-chair of the search committee and the Chamber’s incoming board chair.
“As the first new president of the Chamber in over 12 years, we didn’t want to leave any stone unturned in our search for the best candidate,” Neuman said. “Over the past six months, we conducted an expansive national search to obtain a wide variety of qualified candidates and sought input from all key stakeholders on the characteristics and qualifications they’d like to see in the next president. As we went through this process, it was clear that we had found our president in Maria as she met all of these qualifications and more.”
Salinas said she is “excited and honored for the opportunity to build upon the great progress the Chamber has made in Los Angeles and lead it into its next chapter.”
“Throughout my career, I have used my financial expertise and business acumen to lead and create change and make a lasting impact both in business and in the community,” she said. “I look forward to working alongside the talented staff and Board of Directors to continue to carry out the Chamber’s important mission of championing economic prosperity and quality of life for the Los Angeles region.”
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1888, is the oldest and largest business association in Los Angeles County with 1,600 member companies.
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