GLI CEO Craig Richard

GLI CEO Craig Richard

Greater Louisville Inc. CEO Craig Richard just posted an open letter to GLI members and donors on the organization’s website.

The posting includes bullet points with the first real details GLI executives have released about what’s going on inside the Chamber of Commerce/economic-development agency.

Insider Louisville broke the story last Friday that major staff cuts were underway.

At the time, insiders told us GLI finances were precarious, with the organization down to less than a month’s operating capital.

We made multiple requests for interviews, and we have a tentative sit-down scheduled with Richard for next week.

Until then, here are the first details from an insider at GLI.

Dear GLI Members and Partners:

For Louisville to compete in this new economy, GLI needs to be a lean and efficient business organization focused on becoming the best, most aggressive economic development organization in the country. GLI plays a vital role in this community.  Since joining the organization eight months ago I have met with and talked to a broad range of our membership throughout the business community.  Through these interactions and input from the CEO search, you have made it clear you expect GLI to be the economic engine that drives business expansion and job creation within the region.

I take very seriously our responsibility to be good stewards of your investment and ensure our resources are focused on the fundamentals that drive economic growth.  To meet this goal, I needed to identify efficiencies within the organization to create a structure that supports our top priorities – economic development and outstanding member services.  These were difficult decisions but the changes needed to happen to put clear emphasis on our core competencies while streamlining away from the disciplines that don’t directly impact those priority goals.

This shift included a reduction of 8 staff positions, not including two recent resignations. These changes will not directly impact the teams that are focused on our economic development efforts. Also as part of this plan, I have enacted hiring and travel freezes, a stringent approval process for all expenses, and other belt-tightening measures to further allow us to a achieve a stronger financial position to better serve our mission.  Like many businesses in this new economy, we too are learning to do more with less.

These changes were not made lightly or in a vacuum.  Communication with GLI’s Chairman of the Board, Kerry Stemler, and members of our Executive Committee on these decisions were ongoing.  I appreciate their full support as we implement these changes and cost-saving initiatives.

I am confident we have the team in place to address our current priorities and start building for the future.  With your help and continued support, especially during this transition period, GLI will adapt and innovate to meet the challenges and be positioned to capitalize on Louisville’s opportunities going forward.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD
President & CEO

How many positions were impacted?

GLI had a staff reduction of a total of 8 positions, not including two recent resignations.  GLI staff now totals 36.

Which specific positions were impacted?

Tracee Troutt, Chief Administrative Officer has resigned effective October 15, 2013

Carmen Hickerson, Vice President Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; Mark Kline, Chief Financial Officer; and Kathy Zandona, Vice President Education are no longer with the organization.

In addition 5 other people were laid off, and there was 1 unrelated resignation announced early in September.

How will the finances be handled in the near future?

GLI has hired a temporary accountant who will work closely with Craig Richard and the treasurer of the GLI Board, Diane Medley, Co-Managing Partner, Mountjoy, Chilton, Medley.  Bob DeRossett, CPA, CFA, [email protected] or 502.625.1054.

What is the financial impact?

These staff reductions are not just a cost-cutting measure, but are part of a broader vision to strengthen GLI’s focus on economic development activities and member services.  In addition to the stated hiring and travel freezes, as well as the stringent approval process for all expenses, outside services and contractual obligations have been reduced.

What is the impact on GLI’s current initiatives?

We are currently evaluating all of our activities, committees and events to ensure they align with our top priorities – economic development and outstanding member services.  Any of these initiatives that do not support our priority goals will be suspended.

GLI will continue to support our commitments to workforce preparedness (Degrees At Work) and maintain our entrepreneurial focus (EnterpriseCorp).

What is the plan to ensure continuity?

We have taken measures to assure nothing will slip through the cracks; however, we realize it may happen.  If and when it does, we will pivot accordingly. Every business faces these types of challenges; GLI is no different in this respect.

How does this impact the Advantage Louisville strategy project?

Advantage Louisville is the most in-depth planning undertaken since the 1997 Boyle Report, and will ensure GLI is focused on the right priorities and competitive strategies for the future.  The project is funded through outside corporate and private contributions, and is not part of GLI’s annual budget.

Who do I contact if I have a question or outstanding issue?

Visit our website
  or contact the following for specific questions:

Economic Development – Daryl Snyder, Vice President Economic Development, [email protected] or  502.625.0206

EnterpriseCorp – Tendai Charasika, Executive Director, [email protected] or 502.625.0140

Finance – Bob DeRossett, CPA, CFA, [email protected] or 502.625.1054

Top Investment & Membership – Steve Luckett, Director, Investor Development, [email protected] or 502.625.0160

Media and Communications – Susan Overton, Director, Strategy and Analysis, [email protected] or 502.625.0026

55,000K Degrees and Degrees At Work – Nicole Eovino, Education Manager, [email protected] or 502.625.0029

Public Policy Questions:

Frankfort – Mike Shay, Government Strategies, [email protected] or 502.226.3975
Metro – Tim Corrigan, The Rotunda Group, LLC, [email protected]  or 502.817.4177