Adrienne Cole, a longtime economic development executive, has been named the first woman to lead the 129-year-old Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
The Greater Raleigh Chamber announced Cole’s appointment Monday, making her the organization’s sixth president and CEO since 1940. Cole, 45, replaces Tim Giuliani, who stepped down in February after an 18-month tenure to head an economic development commission in Orlando, Fla.
Guiluiani’s predecessor, Harvey Schmitt, retired in 2015 after two decades at the helm of the chamber.
Cole was previously the Greater Raleigh Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development. She also was executive director of Wake County Economic Development, a chamber program that helps recruit businesses.
The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce is the second-largest business chamber in the state and has more than 2,200 members.
Cole began her economic development career in 1997 in Pamlico County and then moved to Carteret County, leaving in 2001 to become a fundraising director at Meredith College. She joined the Greater Raleigh Chamber in 2004 as executive director of Raleigh Economic Development, a discontinued chamber program.
Since arriving at the Greater Raleigh Chamber, Cole has been involved in a number of major projects and negotiations of incentive packages for companies that moved to or expanded in the Triangle. According to the chamber, she was instrumental in recruiting Campbell Law School to Raleigh and facilitated Red Hat’s headquarters expansion in downtown Raleigh.