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Miller out as chamber boss

Miller out as chamber boss

Rob Miller has resigned from his position as president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

News of Miller's resignation, which takes effect immediately, was announced Wednesday evening. 

“Rob is a visionary leader who brought great energy, business acumen and an entrepreneurial vantage point to our Chamber,” said Chamber Board Chair Lisa Clarke. “He drove member engagement at our events and worked to ensure there were accessible touch points for all our members no matter how small or large. We know there are great things in store for Rob in the future.”

The move follows several days of public outrage over the organization's handling of Judy Braatz, the longtime membership director who was unceremoniously let go of last week

Before her exit, Braatz wrote a letter to the board outlining what she described as "discrimination and bullying behavior" from Miller. Braatz also stated that Miller "has significant difficulty working with women" and "it is no secret that other strong women in the organization have left" because of Miller's behavior.

Braatz's letter was leaked to the media on Wednesday.

An ongoing investigation into Braatz's allegations will continue despite Miller's departure, according to Paul Omodt, who is handling crisis management and public relations for the chamber.

"Rob only wants the best for the Chamber and decided, for the good of the Chamber and to avoid further distraction, that it was best to move on," added Clarke. (Clarke is also the executive director for the Destination Medical Center EDA.)

Speaking by phone, Miller said his intent was to let the investigation play out over the next 30 days. However, he decided to step down from his position after witnessing the toll the events had taken on his family, his staff and the community at-large.

"The best thing to do is let the community heal," he said. 

Despite Braatz's claims, Miller said he has received calls of support in recent days — adding that he is "very confident" the investigation will clear him of any wrongdoing. As for what's next: "I'm going to let my family decide that path."

A native of Sheboygan, Wis., Miller was brought in three years ago following a six-month nationwide search. Before moving to Rochester, he led the Arizona Trade Exchange in Mesa, Ariz.

The chamber's staff will continue running day-to-day operations until an interim president is hired. Out of the chamber's more than 1,500 members, Omodt said about 10 have dropped their memberships in response to recent developments. 

Cover: YouTube screenshot / Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce

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