North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Cristina Aldrete.
Cristina Aldrete, who served as president and CEO of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce since 2018, has resigned. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Just over four years into her role as the first Latina to lead one of San Antonio’s largest business advocacy organizations, Cristina Aldrete is stepping down.

The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1974, recently announced that its board of directors accepted Aldrete’s resignation, which became effective Nov. 23. 

It is the second departure from the echelons of San Antonio’s multiple chambers of commerce announced this month. 

San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez told members on Nov. 17 of his plans to “turn his attention to other pursuits” after 15 years at the helm of the citywide business organization.

Aldrete has served as president and CEO of the North SA Chamber since August 2018. Prior to that, she had been the chamber’s executive vice president of business development and government affairs since 2015. 

A statement said Duane Wilson, the chamber’s former president and CEO, will serve as the interim leader while the board conducts a search for Aldrete’s replacement. 

“I am proud to have led an organization that truly championed businesses large and small,” Aldrete said in the statement. 

It was during Aldrete’s tenure as CEO that the North SA Chamber launched in 2019 a scorecard ranking members of the San Antonio City Council on their pro-business track record. 

The scorecard also created “an avenue for discussion between council and the North SA Chamber’s working committees as they look for support on ordinances” that affect the business community, she said.

In a June 2021 letter to chamber members, Aldrete called the newly elected council, with four new members, “the most progressive to date.”

Aldrete also led the chamber’s formation of its Civic Leadership Academy intended to teach business leaders how to run for public office and prepare them for public service. 

Aldrete departs from the chamber with plans to join her husband, Eddie Aldrete, as a managing partner in the public affairs and strategic planning consulting firm he established a year ago, Aldrete Strategic Partners. 

Eddie Aldrete has a long history of working with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, before and during his 16-year tenure as senior vice president of Laredo-based IBC Bank. He also served as chairman of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and on various business-related boards and organizations at the state level.

In the mid-1990s, the couple worked together at their Austin-based firm, Aldrete Communications.

The firm he leads today is working with two San Antonio nonprofits and two corporate clients, including an international company working on a project in Laredo, he said. 

“I also have prospective clients knocking on the door, and I had to decide whether to turn them away or expand,” he said. “I chose to expand, and it was a great opportunity for me and Cristina to work together once again.”

Cristina Aldrete took the reins of the North SA Chamber from Wilson, who had led the organization for 25 years before retiring in 2018. He was credited with propelling the chamber out of debt and establishing its headquarters at U.S. Highway 281 and Wurzbach Parkway. 

Membership in the group exceeds 1,000 business leaders within industries that employ more than 150,000 people throughout Bexar County, according to its website.

The organization advocates for business-friendly initiatives and legislation at the state and local levels. In 2019, the group joined with other chambers of commerce in protesting against a proposed City ordinance mandating paid sick leave.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we thank Ms. Aldrete for her seven years of service to the North SA Chamber and leadership to the business community,” stated Melodye Tomsu, chairwoman of the North Chamber board. “We wish her the best as she begins this next chapter.” 

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.