Chamber Executive Departs
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu Chamber of Commerce recently issued a press release informing the community about the departure of its administrative executive.
The tersely worded memo reads, "Mark Persson, director of membership services, has accepted the role of interim chamber executive replacing Rebekah Evans, whose last day was Friday, Feb. 17. The role of interim president is a temporary position created to lead chamber operations while the board conducts a thorough executive search."
The release makes no further mention of Evans, who served as CEO of the local organization for the last six years.
Persson indicated the board approved the press release that was sent out, but acknowledged there has been quite a bit of discussion about the memo since it was released.
In announcing the departure of Evans, who formerly worked at the Moorpark chamber, the press release makes no mention of whether the former MCC head resigned or was replaced by the board.
Persson said the board did in fact accept her resignation.
Evans was contacted for comment, but declined to speak at this time.
Her departure comes on the heels of Don Schmitz taking over as chair of the chamber board of directors.
Schmitz heads up a land use consulting firm that has taken on some of the most controversial development issues in Malibu, including obtaining the entitlements for the La Paz shopping center and, so far, unsuccessfully attempting to secure permits for the U2 guitarist the Edge that resulted in international headlines.
Both Schmitz and Evans traveled together to China on a fact-finding mission for city sisterhood status that was ostensibly ratified prior to going before the city council on the matter.
Persson declined to comment further, saying he could not speak for others. The interim replacement, who has been with the chamber since August 2011, said he hasn't decided if he will seek the top post.
He noted that the board is ex-pected to conduct its own executive search and did not think a search firm would be hired.
Persson is touted in the press release as an individual who "brings tremendous leadership skills and an extensive track record of success in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds to his new role. Mark's outstanding commitment and dedicated service to the chamber, which has included enhancing chamber membership development, retention, member benefit programs, as well as identifying and implementing new programs, has resulted in a tangible benefit to the chamber. As such we are excited to have him lead chamber operations in the interim. We look forward to tapping into his many years of business experience."