The Quad-Cities Chamber announced Tuesday it has retained a national executive search firm to begin the search for a new CEO to replace former CEO Tara Barney, who resigned last month. 

Waverly Partners LLC, will work with a chamber task force to conduct the nationwide search. Waverly Partners is the preferred provider of executive search services of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, of which the Quad-City chamber is a member.

Pat Eikenberry, the chamber's board chairman, said the board also has appointed a nine-person task force of Quad-City residents who are actively involved in the community and/or the chamber to work with Waverly Partners. The task force represents businesses large and small from Iowa and Illinois, and from a variety of business sectors.

"We've got a good opportunity to do this right," he said, adding the process will "be very collaborative and transparent."

Barney announced July 21 that she was stepping down "to pass the torch to new leadership." She led the combined chamber since it formed in 2010. Barney also had been with the chamber and some of its predecessors, including DavenportOne, since 2002. 

The task force will work closely with Waverly Partners to develop a Position Profile for the CEO role, which will be posted on the chamber's website.

"They will do a lot of legwork to get to understand our community. It's important for them to understand what the community is looking for (in the next leader) and what the chamber is looking for," Eikenberry added.

According to Eikenberry, the chamber board voted unanimously to select Waverly Partners, which the chamber has worked with previously in hiring some of its executive staff.

"The Quad-Cities Chamber is well-respected among chambers across the country, and is recognized as an industry leader for its success in creating one of the country’s only merged, bi-state chamber and economic development organizations," said Eikenberry, who will serve on the search committee. "I'm confident that we will attract some of the best talent in the industry, and I’m excited for our board to identify a catalytic leader for the chamber."

Qualified applicants or referrals should contact the search firm by email at QuadCities@Waverly-Partners.com.

The chamber said initial interviews should be in November. Eikenberry said the search committee will narrow the prospective candidates to a few qualified finalists, who will be introduced through community meet-and-greets in December or early January. Separate meetings will be held with city leaders and the chamber's other community partners.

Eikenberry said the board is hopeful to have a new CEO by January. "There is no need to rush into this."

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