Bob Hatch will retire this year from his longtime post as president and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Bureau.
Hatch plans to step down June 30, and will continue in his current capacity until a successor is named for the pro-business, nonprofit organization.
Hatch, 67, has served as CEO since 1994, working with the City of Santa Maria and other local governments to promote the vitality of businesses.
He also has served as a member of the board of trustees for the Orcutt Union School District since 2002 and is the chairman of the Santa Maria Valley Economic Development Commission.
Hatch told Noozhawk he’s been thinking about retirement for a while, now that he’s laid a solid foundation for a fresh pair of eyes.
“I’m not getting any younger,” he said. "We’ve accomplished a lot at the chamber. It might be time, perhaps, to go to the next level. Times are changing. Things are changing.”
Donna Randolph, chairwoman of the chamber board, said the organization has been grateful for Hatch’s leadership all these years — recording the second-longest tenure as president in the organization’s nearly 100-year history.
She said the chamber board of directors executive committee, along with three independent board members, would make up the search committee, and Your People Professionals would assist in the process.
“The board is grateful for Bob’s innumerable contributions to the chamber, and his distinguished tenure as our president and CEO speaks volumes,” Randolph said in a statement. “We look forward to his continued leadership as we conduct a search for our new president.”
Hatch, who grew up in Solvang, doesn’t have his next venture lined up yet, but said he’s excited about the possibilities.
“I think that when the day is over, we’ll say we’ve accomplished a good deal in my time,” he said. “It’s a dream job. It really is.”