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DULUTH – David Ross will retire as president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce in August on his 65th birthday.

Ross, a native of West Duluth, has led the chamber for the past 23 years and promised a "seamless transition" in a letter to members.

"I have been energized by the challenge of advocating on your behalf as you have brought jobs, investment and opportunity to our beloved Zenith City," he wrote.

Ross was named chamber president in August 1997. He previously worked as a health care administrator.

The chamber, which has about 1,100 members, recently turned 150 years old and celebrated virtually in November because of the pandemic.

Ross will retire amid a challenging business climate and said "we will work together to keep our Chamber moving forward."

"Thank you for allowing me the honor of standing with you, shoulder to shoulder, in solidarity, as we advocated, together, on behalf of our business community," he wrote.

His replacement, along with the board now chaired by Karen Stromme, will set the tone for the chamber's next generation of business advocacy in the region. The chamber has clashed with city leaders over progressive initiatives such as plastic bag fees and sick and safe time in recent years.

Brooks Johnson • 218-491-6496