The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce today eliminated the position of President and CEO, held since September by Lois Bauccio.
“This step was necessary to further reduce overhead expenses to better manage the chamber’s finances and to continue to provide services to our members,” chamber board chairman John Musella said in a letter to members.
“This was a very difficult decision, but a necessary one,” Musella wrote. “Many of us have known Lois Bauccio for years and consider her a friend. She has been a tremendous asset to our community and we will miss her involvement at the chamber. To say we are heartbroken is an understatement.”
The executive committee will manage the chamber with its remaining support staff, while reviewing options on how to reorganize the organization, the statement said.
Prior to joining the chamber, Bauccio led the Child and Family Center Foundation in Santa Clarita for a decade. She has worked in nonprofit management and business development since 1985, and has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1983.
She was named Santa Clarita’s 2016 Woman of the Year, named one of SCV’s 51 Most Influential People by The Signal for four years and awarded the 2012 Empowering Hearts Award-Iconic by the SCV Single Mother’s Outreach.
At the chamber, she succeeded interim president Jim Bizzelle, who served for three months. Bizzelle took over from Terri Crain, who resigned last April after five years when her family moved to Texas.
The chamber, the third largest such body in Los Angeles County, has struggled with financial issues.In 2013, Crain voluntarily took a cut in pay to save staff jobs at the chamber, The Signal reported last April. In early 2016, the chamber cut its staff to two. Crain had also previously said that rent at their Tourney Road offices was too high for the chamber, forcing it to conduct several fundraising activities to balance its budget. In December, the chamber moved to space it is leasing from the City of Santa Clarita in City Hall.
Founded in 1923 , the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,000 members, focusing on local, state and national issues that affect the business community.
“Tough decisions are never easy,” Musella said. “However, this change will allow the Chamber to focus on member services and promoting the Santa Clarita business community.”