Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec has decided to step down after nearly four years in the role.
“With the board well down the track in finalising a new direction for the chamber, which will allow it to be much more responsive to its members, I felt there was a window for a transition to take place,” he said.
Gregec said he totally agreed with the idea of a member-centric chamber.
“For too long, the chamber has been involved in too many things that have taken it away from a core focus on its members. It has chased new revenue streams at the expense of members.
“The chamber needs to be continually refreshing itself with new ideas, new people and new energy, and this is an example that needs to start from the top.”
Gregec said there was a view that membership organizations like the chamber have had their day, but he did not believe that to be the case.
“There are many examples of membership organisations that are still thriving. But they do require an absolute and complete focus on delivering membership value.”
In Tauranga, the situation was complicated by the large number of other business groups and networks that had sprung up over the years. Plus there were four Mainstreets, all funded from a compulsory levy, not to mention a privatised economic development agency, which uniquely also had a membership.
“This makes it harder for the chamber to operate as an umbrella for everyone and to speak as the collective business voice. Therefore it needs to refocus on its 750-plus members, which still makes it the largest single business organisation by far in the region.”
Gregec – who has been a strong supporter of Bay of Plenty Business News since its inception just over two years ago – will finish up at Easter.
“I do intend to stick around in Tauranga for now and may look to go back into the private sector, where I still have good connections.”