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Myrtle Beach Chamber names new president, CEO months after Brad Dean’s resignation

Meet the new Myrtle Beach chamber president and CEO

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce held a press conference on Tuesday to introduce their new president and chief executive officer, Karen Riordan. Riordan, formally of Williamsburg, VA, is the first female CEO for the Myrtle Beach chamber.
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The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce held a press conference on Tuesday to introduce their new president and chief executive officer, Karen Riordan. Riordan, formally of Williamsburg, VA, is the first female CEO for the Myrtle Beach chamber.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce named a new president and CEO Tuesday morning.

Karen Riordan will replace former president Brad Dean, who announced his resignation in early March. Dean was appointed as CEO of the new Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization.

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Riordan, who currently the president and CEO at the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance in Virginia, will start work in Myrtle Beach on Aug. 20. She will be the first female president of the Myrtle Beach chamber.

“I am absolutely thrilled to take on this role,” Riordan said. “I feel all the tourism experience that I have been working on for the last 30 years sort of lead me to this opportunity.”

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Karen Riordan will be the new president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Jason Lee

She said she plans to “meet as many people in the community” as she can in the first six months.

Riordan said she plans to focus on transparency after questions over how the the chamber and Dean directed money from the Tourism Development Fee, a 1-percent sales tax.

“I can’t speak to my predecessor, I wasn’t here, I don’t know him, I know of him,” Riordan said. “He has a very good reputation in the industry, but I have heard that city council, Horry County, all the community stakeholders, as well as the board of this organization of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is really looking for a CEO that is going to practice transparency and accountability.”

Since Dean’s resignation, the chamber has split his job into two positions — a government affairs job and president and CEO.

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In May, Jimmy Gray was named director of government affairs.

Hired to work on the chamber’s senior leadership team, Gray works to address local, state and federal public policy issues of importance to the local business community, the release said.

Jan H. Hollar, former CEO of Horry County State Bank, acted CEO while the board of directors hired a permanent candidate.

“It is definitely a new day for our chamber and our community,” Carla Schuessler, chair of the board said during Tuesday’s news conference.

Brad Dean is facing pressure from Puerto Rican news media after announcing he'll be CEO of the new Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization. NotiCel, a Puerto Rican news outlet, interviewed Dean this week. He shared his salary and benefit in

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