The Greater Omaha Chamber has replaced its chief executive, Veta Jeffery, less than a year after she was appointed to the role.
Tim Burke will serve as interim CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, effective immediately, the organization announced in a Wednesday press release. Previously, he had headed the Omaha Public Power District from 2015 until his retirement in 2021.
Chamber officials said that they have begun a search for a permanent chief executive but that it would take several months.
Jeffery’s departure was a surprise. The press release said only that she was “leaving the chamber,” but the chamber’s executive committee reportedly had voted Tuesday to let her go.
Jeffery declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
Jeffery had been an economic developer from the St. Louis area when she was announced as the chamber’s new president in April 2022 following the retirement of David Brown, who spent nearly 20 years in the job.
At the time, she told The World-Herald that she was attracted to Omaha by the proven ability of the city’s civic and corporate sectors to work together to move the city forward.
Jeffery grew up in St. Louis before earning a degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She then embarked on a career in banking, rising through the ranks to senior vice president of community and economic development for Midwest BankCentre in St. Louis.
Then, following the Ferguson protests and unrest in 2014, she was appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as manager of the Office of Community Economic Development for the state. In that position, she brought together public and private stakeholders to rebuild the business community in Ferguson and throughout the St. Louis region.
Jeffery also helped establish workforce development programs to assist underserved communities and helped form a state program that provided internships for disadvantaged college students in Missouri.
Before coming to Omaha, Jeffery has served as chief diversity officer for St. Louis County.
Burke, who spent 24 years with OPPD in various management and executive roles, said he looked forward to working for the chamber during the transition. He was former chairman of the chamber board in 2020.
“The chamber’s work has always been important, and it is as critical now as it has ever been to build momentum and continue to make progress,” Burke said.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said through a spokesperson that she was told about Jeffery’s departure a short time before the announcement, but she declined to comment.
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