Brown Resigns From GR Chamber

September 17, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce President John Brown has officially handed in his resignation to the board of directors and will leave his position on Sept. 26.

After five years with the chamber, Brown will leave to pursue his passion of advocacy and government relations and has accepted a position with Jackson National Life Insurance Co.

Brown will be the Lansing-based company’s vice president of government relations, where he will be managing government relations in Michigan, federally in Washington, D.C., and as necessary around the country.

“I am very excited and I think it is fair to say that advocacy and government relations are a passion of mine,” Brown told the Business Journal. “It is something I enjoyed at the Amway Corp. and it is something that I have enjoyed as a component of what the chamber has done for the five years I have been here, and I am looking forward to applying those skills at Jackson National.”

Brown said that it has yet to be determined who will take over his position in the interim, but that Cindy Havard, board chairman, and Bob Roth, senior vice chair, will sit with the executive committee, Brown and the leadership team of the chamber to design a leadership transition process.

“The chamber has enormous strength in its membership, staff and in its programming,” said Brown. “We have added numerous things to the chamber’s activities and programming over the years, and at the same time we have added about $350,000 to the reserve while growing the work we have been doing, and that is an ideal circumstance.”

Brown said he feels that the work the organization has done in the past will make it attractive to his prospective successor.

“I would hope that there would be a great number of talented people (applying). It has been an incredible experience for me and I feel very grateful to have been with the chamber,” said Brown. “So for the future there is no doubt that there will be a great number of top-notch candidates from which to choose.”           

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