The Executive Committee of the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors today announced it has completed its comprehensive assessment of allegations contained in an anonymous letter received at the end of May. The review concluded that there are no financial irregularities, employment-related illegal acts or violations of law or policy at the Chamber. The review also found that many of the allegations in the anonymous letter are simply false or not based on a complete understanding of the facts, opinions that could not be objectively verified or not sufficiently significant to merit review.
The Committee, acting on behalf of the Board, conducted a timely, comprehensive and fair review of the allegations in the anonymous letter. The Committee engaged Robert Haar of Haar & Woods, LLP as independent counsel; RubinBrown, certified public accountants; and Richard McClure of Spero Advisers, LLC to assist in the review. A copy of the Committee’s report was sent to all Board members today.
“From the beginning, the Committee thought it was in the best long-term interests of the Chamber to review the letter’s allegations,” said Board Chairman Warner Baxter, Chairman, President and CEO of Ameren Corporation. “On behalf of the Committee, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Chamber team, the Board, and investors and stakeholders in the region for their patience and support during this review. I also want to thank Joe Reagan and the entire Chamber team for giving their full cooperation throughout the review.”
The Committee and the Board have high standards and expectations for the Chamber and its leadership team. The Chamber’s investors and the entire St. Louis region served by the Chamber deserve nothing less. In order to enable the Chamber to achieve the standard of performance the Committee and Board expect, the Committee’s review confirmed areas for improvement for the Chamber’s President and CEO that were previously identified by the Committee, with Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan, in mid- 2016 during his regular performance evaluation. These included the need for greater focus on strategic priorities, improved financial performance, enhanced communications about the Chamber’s activities, and more effective investor and employee relations. The Committee and Board will continue to closely monitor progress in these areas. The Committee and Board also will take steps to enhance and strengthen oversight of the Chamber’s activities and performance management improvements.
Joe Reagan and the entire Chamber team have the support of the Committee in their efforts to execute the Chamber’s strategy. The Chamber’s success will enable the St. Louis region to continue to grow and prosper for the long-term benefit of businesses and citizens.
“I am grateful that the Board spent the necessary time and energy to conduct such a thorough review,” said Joe Reagan. “Ultimately, this process will help us better serve our investors, members and communities. I thank my colleagues for their dedication to the Chamber, and to our region’s future.”
The publicity surrounding the anonymous letter created a very challenging environment for everyone at the Chamber. Yet, throughout the review, the Chamber team continued to stay focused on the Chamber’s mission. The Chamber team has played a role in several notable successes in 2016 and 2017, including:
- 15 successful location deals, three in biosciences, two in the health sector, seven in financial services, and three in logistics; 1,980 new jobs with an average annual wage of $65,150; $129 million in new payroll wages; $660 million in capital investment; work with local officials to secure City Foundry’s $340 million development plan for Midtown St. Louis; help negotiating a deal for Pfizer’s $200 million and 80-job expansion of its Chesterfield facility; work to create a business-forward environment and to clear the way for 1,200 new jobs announced this year at Boeing; help supporting Centene’s efforts to expand its global headquarters in Clayton and bring 1,000 jobs to the region; and work with the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois to develop new jobs for the Metro East, including at the corporate headquarters of Prairie Farms Dairy.
- Launching the united Brand Strategy for the St. Louis Region. For the first time ever, 30 of the region’s professional marketing organizations – including St. Louis area chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus, economic development organizations, civic organizations and colleges and universities – have developed and committed to a united brand voice for St. Louis to help attract more people, businesses and investment.
- Securing key endorsements for the St. Louis Regional Commitment to Education, St. Louis’s first collective agenda to make college attainment more accessible and affordable for all students in the region. This included an unprecedented coalition of 16 colleges and universities and area partners pledged to making the Regional Commitment a reality.
- Launching Business Leaders for Education, a group of top-level St. Louis executives championing strategies that will ensure equitable access to higher education, close achievement gaps and accelerate degree completion for people living and working in St. Louis.
- Partnering with the Initiative for Competitive Inner Cities to bring the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program to more than 130 growing businesses, the largest cohort in ICCC’s 11-year history. Many of these businesses are minority and/or women-owned and located in and employing people in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
- Celebrating the 10th Annual Culminating Event for the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellows Program with 68 Fellows, and beginning Cohort 11 with 80 Fellows.
- Creating and staffing the Missouri Competes coalition to rally opposition to SJR39, a discriminatory, anti-LGBT constitutional amendment, as a direct threat to the regional economy. The Chamber worked alongside regional partners on lobbying and advocacy efforts.