The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce has hired longtime association executive Julie Coons as CEO and president.
Coons, who will take over Sept. 10, steps into the slot vacated by Jim Corcoran in early April. The chamber is the third-largest business organization in Greater Washington, reporting $3.12 million in revenue in 2017. It had 671 members as of June, up from 650 the year prior.
The newly named CEO most recently was chief operating officer at Arlington-based Council of Better Business Bureaus, an umbrella organization of national programs and charitable organizations with nearly $31 million in annual revenue. Coons, who couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, was originally hired as its executive vice president of national programs in January 2017.
Chamber Chairwoman Jennifer Siciliano, chief communications and external affairs officer at Inova Health System, said in a statement that Coons’ track record of leading such organizations and her past collaborations with and advocacy for businesses makes her “uniquely positioned” to lead the chamber into its next season of growth.
Coons previously served as CEO of the Electronic Retailing Association from December 2008 to April 2016, CEO of the Maryland Tech Council from October 2004 to November 2008 and executive vice president at the Wireless Infrastructure Association from April 2001 to October 2004.
At the Electronic Retailing Association, she took over an organization operating in the red and, across eight years, cut its liabilities and expenses to yield positive net income, according to nonprofit disclosures I reviewed. Earlier this year, the association said it would cease operations because of declines in its revenue and number of dues-paying members.
Corcoran took the helm of the Northern Virginia chamber in 2010, when it was called the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, he led the group’s rebranding effort, saying the regional name better reflected its mission. Corcoran, who most recently earned $242,375 in compensation in 2016, the most recent year available, stayed on after his announced departure until the middle of June to assist with the transition. No reason was given for his departure.
In the chamber’s statement on its new leadership Wednesday, Coons hailed its business reputation in the region and said the group is well-positioned to develop new opportunities for businesses. The chamber made lobbying for dedicated Metro funding one of its top priorities leading up to a decision by all three jurisdictions to approve a transit funding boost earlier this year. It has also hosted several economic events in recent months, while kickstarting its own incubator and accelerator program.
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