Richard Perez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, announced Nov. 17 he will depart as the chamber’s top leader Dec. 31, capping 15 years of guiding the city’s largest business advocacy organization.

Perez said he will stay on as a consultant while the chamber seeks a new president/CEO, a news release said.

“Fifteen years ago this month, I started in my role as president and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Today marks the end of an important chapter in my life, and while the decision to step down as president and CEO was not an easy one, I am excited about the direction of the organization and the opportunity to continue to serve the San Antonio community outside of this role,” Perez said in a statement.

Perez said the chamber this year took on several initiatives, including a governance restructure, the development of a strategic plan and a brand refresh.

Perez said he feels these initiatives will elevate the organization, and he will be departing the chamber prepared for great success in the future.

“It has been my honor and privilege to lead this great organization and to work with our business community’s leaders to make a notable difference in our community. I am and always will be the San Antonio Chamber’s biggest cheerleader,” he said.

According to the news release, during Perez’s tenure, the San Antonio chamber supported and lobbied for funding for the establishment of Texas A&M University-San Antonio, helped secure City Council passage of the Vista Ridge water project and opposed the city’s efforts toward inserting a labor peace agreement in request for proposals for San Antonio International Airport concessionaires.

Additionally, the chamber advocated for economic stimulus aid for the business community during the COVID-19 pandemic, led efforts to include a cost-benefit analysis for mitigation strategies in the city’s Climate Action and Adaption Plan, and supported keeping the Central Business District unified in the city’s new council redistricting map, the release said.

Other chamber officials praised Perez’s leadership over the years.

“[Perez] has been an excellent leader and has made a significant impact on our community over the last 15 years. The leadership team and I applaud him for his hard work, dedication, and noteworthy contributions,” said chamber board Chair Phil Green, also chair and CEO of Cullen/Frost Bankers and Frost Bank.

Katie Harvey, 2023 chamber board chair and CEO of KGBTexas Communications, also lauded Perez’s efforts.

“With a new governance structure and strong strategic direction, he leaves the chamber in an excellent position. We are excited about the future direction of the organization and prepared to build on the foundation created under [Perez’s] leadership and take the organization to the next level,” Harvey said.