After six years at the helm of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, Jim Godfrey is out as executive director.
The chamber’s three-member executive committee asked for Godfrey’s resignation, which he offered and which the chamber’s board of directors then unanimously accepted.
Chamber President Dyrke Maricle declined to talk about matters discussed in “executive session,” but he said Godfrey’s departure was driven by a gap between expectations and performance.
“Every executive director is looked at in terms of production and performance, and there are plans in place for the direction the board wanted (the chamber) to go,” Maricle said. “What led to the understanding at this time is Jim saw the direction the board wanted to go wasn’t in the direction he wanted. It was time to split ways. ... A lot of things put in place weren’t measuring up to expectations.”
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Godfrey could not be reached for comment.
Maricle suggested the board was also unhappy with its record attracting female-owned businesses as members. He said female-owned companies make up 30 percent of the Clayton’s business community.
“We weren’t really effectively getting those businesses,” Maricle said.
The chamber’s executive committee is made up of Maricle, chamber treasurer Karel Lloyd and past chairman David Palmquist.
Maricle said the Godfrey ousting was not related to any financial issues. He said personality conflicts existed but would not comment on whether that contributed to the resignation.
“I think the only thing I can say is, just like everybody, there are people, either peers or others, that you get along with and other people you don’t,” Maricle said. “No matter where you go, there are going to be people who agree with you and people that don’t. That’s about as much as I can say to that.”
Maricle said Godfrey would receive a severance package, but he would not disclose the specifics. Godfrey had been away from the chamber for about a month for heart surgery early in the summer, two people with knowledge of the leave said.
Godfrey came on as chamber director in 2010 after the retirement of Sally Schlindwein. Former chamber president James Lipscomb said Godfrey helped redirect a chamber that was struggling at the time and kept it above water during the national financial crisis.
“The chamber had gone through a few hard years,” Lipscomb said. “It was during what I call the great depression, at least what I hope is the worst economy in my lifetime. ... The chamber is in a different financial situation now than it was when Jim came on.”
One chamber board member called Godfrey a “good personal friend.”
“I’m sad to see Jim leave the community,” said the board member, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. “But I think the biggest thing is, the chamber is much bigger than one or two or three people. It’s been made so much stronger over the last few years; whatever happens, the community will go on.”
Maricle said Jessica Lloyd, Karel Lloyd’s wife, filled in while Godfrey was on medical leave and will now serve as interim director. He expects the position to take at least a couple of months to fill.
“She’ll really be continuing in the exact same capacity, running the day-to-day of things and being a conduit to the board,” Maricle said. “Obviously, I want somebody in right away, but the goal is probably within the next few months.”
With major industrial expansions and a growing downtown, Maricle this this is an important hire for the continued vitality of Clayton’s business community.
“Clayton is growing; there are a lot of people in other chambers in the area who would absolutely die to come to Clayton,” he said. “It’s a chance to get into something at the ground level and put their mark on it and take it to the next level.”
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson