MEMPHIS, Tenn.–The Greater Memphis Chamber Board of Directors unanimously voted Thursday to name Chief Economic Development Officer Ted Townsend as the Chamber’s next president and CEO.

Beverly Robertson said she plans to leave the Chamber in December this year to return to TRUST Marketing, a business she started with her husband, according to the press release.

She also plans to spend her remaining time raising $10 million to $15 million to fund the Chamber’s work.

Ted Townsend

Townsend, a native Memphian, said his goal is to make the Chamber the number 1 economic development organization in the nation and make Greater Memphis a hub of inclusive growth.

“Memphis has momentum and it’s about to get even better,” he said. “We have fully recovered the jobs we lost in the pandemic, we just had our best year ever for economic development, and we have more projects in our pipeline than ever before. A tsunami of opportunity is coming, and when it does, the Chamber will be leading the charge to make sure this prosperity is felt across Memphis.”

Robertson, who stepped into the role as the Chamber’s first Black president and CEO in 2018, led the Chamber through the death of former president and CEO Phil Ternary and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Beverly Robertson

In 2021, the 184-year-old Chamber celebrated its best year ever for economic development and its best financial year ever as a result of Robertson’s extensive fundraising efforts.

Robertson reflected on her time at the Chamber, stating:

My tenure at the Chamber has occurred in the midst of protest, politics and the pandemic. I stepped into the organization at a critical time. This work was more of a mission than a job. But my administration has been marked by inclusion – on our staff, in our community, and in the diverse voices we’re listening to – and by an entrepreneurial spirit that has led me to launch initiatives that others may have never considered. I am so grateful for the relationships that I have built over the years, along with new ones that I have fostered. The work would not have been possible without their support.

Robertson added that she supports the Chamber’s choice of having Townsend as her successor.

“We are very fortunate to have a deep bench when it comes to leadership at the Chamber. Ted is a strong, skilled professional who deeply cares about Memphis and this team. He is an expert when it comes to economic development and he knows this community. I’m looking forward to his future leadership of the Chamber,” she said.