(Courtesy of Greater Omaha Chamber)
OMAHA — Less than a year after she started, Veta Jeffery is abruptly exiting the top spot at the Greater Omaha Chamber.
A press release issued Wednesday offered no reason and said a search for a new permanent CEO for the chamber has begun. While the search committee will work swiftly, it is likely to take several months, said Carmen Tapio, chamber board chair who also is president and CEO of North End Teleservices.
Tim Burke has been appointed interim CEO, effective immediately. Burke served as CEO of Omaha Public Power District from 2015 until his retirement in 2021. In 2020, he was chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber.
“I am excited about the opportunity to assist the Chamber and the business community during this transition,” Burke said in the statement. “The Chamber’s work has always been important, and it is as critical now as it has ever been to build momentum and continue to make progress.”
Just last April, it was announced that Jeffery would replace longtime chamber head David Brown, who retired after 20 years. She started the job in May.
Previously chief diversity officer for the State of Missouri’s St. Louis County, Jeffery came to Omaha with much praise from the local business and government community.
Prior to the St. Louis position, Jeffery managed Missouri’s community and economic development services, a spot to which she had been appointed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon. She convened public and private sectors and helped rebuild the business community in and around the City of Ferguson following protests and the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen, by a police officer.
At the time of her hiring in Omaha, she said: “Omaha is a beautiful, well-established place that offers business owners the opportunity to thrive. I am excited to lead this business community and workforce development charge and I am equally excited to call Omaha my new home.”
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