Kwasi Holman, who has been executive vice president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce since 1993 and presided over a major expansion of the organization's membership and its influence on District issues, has resigned to pursue other professional interests.
During Holman's tenure, the chamber helped establish the D.C. Marketing Center and the D.C. Visitors Center at the Ronald Reagan Building.
Founded in 1938 as the Washington Chamber of Commerce to protect the interests of the capital's African American businesses, the chamber was reorganized in 1957 to serve minority firms and all other District-based businesses.
For many years it was overshadowed by the Greater Washington Board of Trade. But since the mid-1990s, the D.C. Chamber has quadrupled its membership to more than 1,100 businesses, adding representatives from some of the city's largest employers and major law firms. During that time the chamber stepped into city-wide debates over tax policy, regulatory reform and home rule.
Holman, a former D.C. economic development official, represented the chamber in the successful campaign to bring Washington's professional basketball and hockey teams into the city, to the downtown MCI Center.
The chamber's board recently commissioned a review of its operations, but D.C. Chamber President Marie Johns said that was not a factor in Holman's decision.
"He served the chamber well," said Johns, president of Bell Atlantic Washington.