Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced Suzanne Clark will become the next chief executive officer of the world’s largest business organization, effective March 11, 2021, the date of the organization’s next Board of Directors meeting.
Clark currently serves as the president of the U.S. Chamber, a director on two corporate boards, and she is a former business owner. She will add the CEO title and succeed Thomas J. Donohue, who revitalized the organization and effectively led it for 24 years. U.S. Chamber Board Chair Christopher Lofgren made the announcement today to the Board and in a letter to the organization’s members and employees across the country.
“Suzanne Clark's extensive experience through ever increasing responsibilities during her more than 16 years at the Chamber, combined with her ambitious vision and ongoing work to strengthen the U.S. Chamber of Commerce make her the resounding choice to lead the organization into the future,” said Lofgren. "On behalf of all the board leaders who have been working on this multiyear succession process, we are profoundly grateful to Tom Donohue for his leadership, passion for this organization, and commitment to free enterprise over the past 24 years."
Added Lofgren: “Clark has the deep management experience within the leadership of the U.S. Chamber, and a timely and powerful vision for how the organization can partner with American business to expand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's global impact and influence for years to come. We are thrilled that the U.S. Chamber has yet another world-class CEO to serve the interests of our members and free enterprise in our country.”
Clark: ‘Singularly Focused on Serving Our Members and Helping Business Chart a Brighter Future for All of Us’
Clark was named president of the U.S. Chamber in June 2019. In that role, she has led a multiyear effort to strengthen the organization’s well-known influence, advocacy, and impact, while modernizing its work and attracting new members. She also played a key role in strengthening relationships with state and local chamber of commerce organizations to broaden the reach and vision of free enterprise across the country. These investments in the Chamber’s future proved prescient when the pandemic hit, enabling the institution to quickly pivot to new ways of working and successfully advocate for business in the midst of a sharp economic downturn.
Earlier in her career, she served in a number of senior leadership positions at the Chamber from 1997 to 2007, before leaving for opportunities in private industry. Prior to re-joining the U.S. Chamber in 2014, she acquired and led Potomac Research Group, a prominent financial information firm. Before that, Clark served as president of the National Journal Group (NJG), where she led the company through a period of rapid digital transformation, resulting in record-level profits and multiple journalism awards.
Clark serves on the boards of two public companies: AGCO, a Fortune 500 global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural equipment; and TransUnion, a provider of global risk and credit information.
“I am honored to lead the U.S. Chamber at a time when our members need us most,” Clark said. “American businesses are dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the challenges of a recession and uneven recovery, stark shifts in government leadership and policy, and near-constant disruptions being driven by rapid technological advancement.”
Clark continued: “Along with those challenges come tremendous opportunities for businesses to serve people and communities in new ways, to create a stronger and more competitive economy, and to innovate for the future. The U.S. Chamber is singularly focused on serving our members and helping businesses—small and large, old and new—chart a brighter future for all of us. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead the U.S. Chamber, strengthen the organization for the future, and carry forward its enduring mission.”
In the non-profit arena, Clark is a Board member for the Economic Club of Washington, DC and So Others Might Eat (SOME), which serves the poor and homeless in the nation’s capital. Her recent awards and recognition include Washingtonian’s Most Powerful Women in Washington (2019), SOME’s Humanitarian of the Year (2019), Directors Directorship 100 honoree (2020), and the Baldrige Foundation’s Award for Leadership Excellence (2021).
Donohue: Leading the Chamber an ‘Honor of a Lifetime’
Clark will succeed Tom Donohue, an iconic leader credited with building the Chamber into the most influential business association in the world. At the helm of the institution for 24 years, Donohue expanded its lobbying firepower and turned the organization into a global force. He will continue to serve the Chamber in an advisory capacity.
“Leading the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the past 24 years has been the honor of a lifetime, and it is with pride, enthusiasm, and confidence that I pass the reins to Suzanne Clark. Her business experience, passion for free enterprise, years of tested leadership at the Chamber, and vision for its future make her exactly the right leader at the right time,” said Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber.
“Over the past several years, she has been my trusted partner, leading the team and designing the strategy for the Chamber’s bright future. As CEO, she will continue the transformation needed to serve our members in complex times and strengthen the institution for the next generation of American business,” Donohue added.
Later this year, the U.S. Chamber will host a celebration of Thomas J. Donohue’s many contributions and enduring legacy.