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Rosansky named chamber president

Newport business group to get new digs as well.

August 20, 2013|By Emily Foxhall and Beau Nicolette

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has newly appointed leadership and soon will have new office space.

Steve Rosansky was permanently named president and chief executive of the chamber on July 29.

Rosansky, a former Newport Beach mayor and city councilman, has been acting as interim president and CEO since January.

One of his first acts in the official role was to sign a lease Thursday for new office space.

"New offices will bring in new energy," Rosansky said. "Out with the old, in with the new."

The chamber's employees will begin moving in mid-September from their current space on Santa Barbara Drive, where the chamber has been renting month-to-month since its lease expired at the end of June.

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The chamber's future home, on Irvine Avenue near Bristol Street, is smaller and shares a building with tenants who seemed more "21st century," such as design firms and artists, Rosansky said.

"We want to be a progressive chamber of commerce," Rosansky said. "It's not an old and stuffy office building."

Though the chamber has signed the agreement for the new space, the deal has not yet been finalized by the landlord, Rosansky added.

Rosansky takes the place of Richard Luehrs, who stepped down Jan. 15 after serving for more than 30 years as president and CEO of the chamber.

While Luehrs received more than $100,000 annually for his work, Rosansky will be serving as a volunteer, he said.

City law prohibits former council members from lobbying the City Council or staff for one year following the end of a term. Rosansky left the council last December, so he cannot legally receive compensation for his work at the chamber until this December.

Tim Brown, chairman of the chamber's Board of Directors, said Rosansky's experience is valuable because he can relate to and understand the small-business owners, who make up a majority of the chamber's members.

Rosanksy has worked as a real estate broker and restaurant owner.

"He comes with this mindset that for every dollar we spend, we should be looking for a maximum return," Brown said.

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