Longtime U.S. Chamber Chief Thomas Donohue to Step Down, Suzanne Clark Will Assume Role

After a long career in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief Thomas Donohue will step down this week, and Suzanne Clark will assume the role of president and chief executive officer. 

Suzanne Clark is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a director on two corporate boards, a former business owner, and an entrepreneur. 

Donohue has led the Chamber for more than two decades. Though the 82-year-old planned to leave the organization next year, he decided to leave earlier after the board agreed to name Clark as his successor, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The Chamber, which plans to announce the transition officially this week, has organized a series of board meetings and conference calls. 

“The Board is engaged in a rigorous multi year succession process to name a new CEO,” a spokesman for the Chamber said in a statement. “When a final decision has been reached, there will be an announcement.” 

This decision does not come as a shock, as Donohue has delegated the responsibilities of many of the Chamber’s operations to Clark. 

Donohue’s legacy includes helping build the Chamber into one of the largest and most influential voices of big business in the nation’s capital. He took over the Chamber during the Clinton administration, taking a strong pro-business stance on policy issues including taxes, regulation and free trade. 

But, the Chamber’s influence declined amid the rise of anti-corporate populists in the republican party and progressives in the democratic party, which shrank pro-business centrists in both political parties, according to the Wall Street Journal.

During the 2020 election, the Chamber endorsed democrats in 32 House races, which drew criticism from President Trump. 

Trump and Mike Pence called Donohue to tell him they were upset by the endorsements, but in a statement to the Journal at the time, Neil Bradley said the organization needed to endorse “centrist, business-minded democrats” in addition to republicans. 

In total, the Chamber endorsed 232 House republicans.