Raleigh Chamber CEO Tim Giuliani is returning to Florida

The president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is returning to Florida.

The chamber announced Wednesday that Tim Giuliani, who was the leader of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and its economic division before being lured to Raleigh in 2015, has resigned effective March 3 to accept a new job in Orlando. He will be the president of a new economic development/chamber of commerce group being formed by the Orlando Economic Development Commission and the Central Florida Partnership, which includes the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Giuliani, now 35, was one of the youngest chamber CEOs in the country when he took the helm of the Raleigh chamber in the summer of 2015.

Greg Winkler, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, is sorry to see Giuliani go.

“He’s just a bright, energetic, strategic thinker,” Winkler said. “He was only here a year and a half, but he accomplished more in that year and a half than I think I’ve seen most (do) in two or three times that factor.”

Initiatives begun under Giuliani’s watch, Winkler added, include making a concerted effort to reach out to information technology companies and expanding leadership development workshops and training efforts. In addition, he said, Giuliani gave his all to help win approval of the $2.3 billion Wake County Transit Plan that appeared on the ballot in November.

“It was a very, very difficult decision to make,” Giuliani said of his departure. “I have a great team at the chamber. I have great business leaders involved in the organization. ... People here are so welcoming. It’s a great environment to lead and work.”

Giuliani said he wasn’t looking to leave but “the attraction of what Orlando has to offer” was irresistible.

In addition to Florida being his home state, “it’s the opportunity to create something new as well,” he said.

Janet Carr, senior vice president and general manager of the Raleigh chamber, has been tapped to manage the organization’s operations in the event a successor to Giuliani hasn’t been named by March 3.

Winkler is optimistic the chamber can find a new CEO relatively quickly.

“It’s only been a year and a half since we did this last,” he said. “We did a lot of the heavy lifting after Harvey left.” Winkler was referring to Harvey Schmitt, Giuliani’s predecessor, who retired after two decades at the helm of the chamber.

Board member and former chair Jill Heath, who headed the last search committee, is doing so again. And the chamber has hired the same executive search firm, Waverly Partners. Many of the same board members also are expected to serve on the new search committee.

After all, said Winkler, the last search was a success.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii