The D.C. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday named Harry Wingo president and chief executive, a move that puts the former Google executive at the head of one of the District’s most influential business advocacy groups.
Wingo will succeed Barbara Lang, a leader who is credited with expanding the chamber’s member base and broadening its influence.
Wingo, 47, has experience in the technology and Internet policy sectors. He founded the District-based cybersecurity firm West River Solutions last summer and previously worked in Google’s Washington office, serving as senior policy counsel with a focus on cloud computing, privacy and security. He also has worked at the Federal Communications Commission and at a start-up focused on a “smart” electrical grid. Wingo said his technologist background has helped shape his priorities for the Chamber.
“We really want to do what we can to attract more technology businesses,” he said in an interview.
Wingo, a District native, will take the Chamber reins April 1.
“We chose Harry because of his deep leadership expertise and visible passion for this city, as well as his organizational and political skills, which are required to lead our growing and dynamic organization,” Tony Lewis, chairman of the D.C. Chamber, said in a statement.
Wingo said that “it’s a little early” to say whether his direction for the organization will differ noticeably from his predecessor’s, but that he expects to be “building on the success that Barbara Lang put in place.”
One change, though, will be a heightened focused on veteran employment issues. Wingo is a U.S. Navy veteran who previously led a program at Google to boost the company’s veteran hiring efforts. At the Chamber, Wingo said, he “will find every opportunity” to support the hiring of veterans.
The D.C. Chamber announced in September that Lang planned to step down after more than a decade of leadership. That move came just days after she helped spearhead the defeat of the Large Retailer Accountability Act, a bill that would have required big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart to pay a “super-minimum wage.”
After Lang leaves the Chamber on March 31, she plans to launch Lang Strategies, a consulting firm that will work with businesses and nonprofit groups on topics such as business development, political strategy and executive leadership.
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