San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez announced on Thursday plans to leave the organization after 15 years.
Perez sent a farewell email saying he plans to finish out the year in his role, then consult for the organization in 2023 while it looks for a new leader.
As he approached the anniversary of another year at the business organization, Perez wrote he had “embarked on a period of introspection” about his work there.
“As I continued to reflect on my tenure as president and CEO, I realized that now is the perfect time for me to turn my attention to other pursuits,” Perez wrote.
The San Antonio Chamber is the largest business organization in the city.
Over the summer it made significant changes to its leadership structure, going from a board of 116 directors to a more powerful 15-member council.
Earlier this week it laid out plans for an expansive lobbying agenda in the upcoming Texas legislative session, with Perez hosting members of the state delegation for a reception at the chamber’s office downtown.
“Given the strong position of the chamber, this is the ideal time to pass the torch to another individual to serve as the next president and CEO to lead the charge into the future,” Perez wrote in his farewell email.
Perez grew up in San Antonio and went on to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration. He returned to San Antonio in 2001 and represented District 4 on City Council from 2004 to 2008, before he was recruited to lead the chamber.
Perez had come under criticism in recent months from business leaders who said he wasn’t taking an aggressive enough approach toward local politics.
Among other issues, they complained that the chamber should have played a more active role in recruiting a candidate to fill an opening on the CPS Energy board.
“While success involves many elements such as hard work, dedication, leadership, and even luck, it also involves good decision making,” Perez wrote in his farewell email. “Knowing when to engage or if one should engage at all, understanding the cost and benefits of particular decisions, gauging the likelihood of success, and knowing when to withdraw are essential in this position.”
Chamber chair Phil Green, the chairman and CEO of Frost Bank, praised Perez for his “hard work, dedication and noteworthy contributions.”
“While it will be difficult to replace Richard, I am confident he will continue to be an ambassador for the organization and will make positive and lasting contributions to the San Antonio community,” Green stated.