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Regional chamber director resigns


After less than one year on the job, John Gerni has announced his resignation as executive director of the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana.

The regional coalition lobbies elected officials on business-related issues. In 2010, the organization replaced the Fort Wayne Corporate Council, which had a more narrow focus for membership and issues.

Bob Taylor, chairman of the Regional Chamber, said he was surprised by Gerni’s decision, which was attributed to family reasons.

“John’s done a great job,” said Taylor, who is also president and CEO of Fort Wayne-based Do it Best Corp. “His past and the connections he has down at the statehouse were exactly what we were looking for.”

Gerni developed those connections when he represented Lincoln National Corp. on legislative and regulatory initiatives.

The search for a replacement begins Monday, after various local leaders return from spring break vacations, Taylor said.

As of December, the Regional Chamber included about 70 members and was working with a 2013 budget of about $500,000.

In an email distributed to northeast Indiana’s legislators, Gerni described it as “a difficult decision” made with his wife, Karen, who has decided to retire. They want to spend more time at their second home in North Carolina, he said. And Gerni plans to look for a job that will allow him to work from either location.

Gerni said he will work through the end of the current legislative session, which is scheduled to wrap up April 29.

For more on this story, see Friday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or go to after 3 a.m. Friday.