Insiders are telling Insider Louisville to expect a major shakeup at Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Joe Reagan, GLI CEO, is on the short list for the soon-to-be-vacant CEO position at the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association.
This morning, insiders told Insider Louisville Reagan sent an internal email to his staff acknowledging ”rumors,” but assuring them he’s not leaving GLI. However, it’s not clear that Reagan has gotten an actual offer.
St. Louis Chamber officials are in the final process of selecting the final candidates to replace Dick Fleming, the chamber’s retiring president and CEO, said Gary Broome, vice president, communications.
Broome said he had no information about Reagan, adding that a recruitment firm is handling the CEO search for the St. Louis chamber.
Media affairs executives and others at GLI did not return multiple calls for comment.
Insiders confirm serious rifts inside GLI, Lousiville’s main economic development organization, after the sudden firing last December of Mark Crane in a major reorganization.
At the time, Crane was executive director of GLI Enterprise Corp. He had been with the chamber for 13 years as point man on entrepreneurial projects and efforts to build an angel investor/venture capital network in Louisville.
Now an instructor and consultant at the University of Louisville’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the College of Business, Crane told Insider Lousiville he’s focused on U of L and not in a position to comment.
But insiders tell Insider Louisville Crane’s abrupt departure divided the GLI camp into factions, leading a number of major supporters to reduce or cut off contributions to the economic-development group.
GLI and Reagan have come under scrutiny, not to mention criticism, for GLI’s lack of big “gets” and Reagan’s salary.
Last summer, Louisville Courant blogger Curtis Morrison, who is a frequent Insider Louisville contributor, revealed that – via a leak from inside GLI – Reagan was paid $369,268 in 2009.
That was 2009 and doesn’t include benefits and other perks.
While Reagan and past Louisville mayoral administrations have taken credit for everything from the Ford retrofitting of Louisville Assembly Plant to General Electric updating Appliance Park, we can’t really think of a major GLI coupe outside of Signature HealthCARE relocating here from Florida. And let’s face it … Joe Steier is Louisville-born and raised. So, really, how hard was it to get him to relocate?
Mayor Greg Fischer also seems to have doubts about GLI, which he expressed in this interview last December with Courier-Journal reporter Chris Otts, shortly after being elected:
Q: Should the city continue providing about 13 percent of Greater Louisville Inc.’s budget?
A: One of our transition teams is going to be taking a look at that. … We’ll be looking at all the issues that are associated with economic development. … I am committed to looking at it very objectively — asking ourselves, why do we have GLI? Why do we have the Downtown Development Corp.? Asking ourselves, where is there overlap in the city?
Q: Do you think GLI has done a good job attracting businesses to locate or expand in Louisville?
A: When you take a look at how we are competing against our 16 peer cities, we have to say, as a community, we have not done as well as we should have — as a community. That’s when we say, is it education, is it GLI — what is it?
Finally, who can forget that magical evening in March 2010 when Reagan and Humana Inc. CEO Michael McCallister introduced the “Idea Capital of the World: Where Imaginations and Individuals Thrive” campaign at GLI’s hallucinogenic annual meeting, complete with black-clad swami/inspirational consultant Lance Secretan?
Or, as Secretan bills himself, “One of the World’s Great Thinkers.”
More as we know more.