Update: Derreberry named new Charleston Chamber chief

Bryan Derreberry

A veteran chamber of commerce executive from Wichita, Kansas will become the new president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Wichita and Charleston chambers of commerce said separately Monday after The Post and Courier learned that it was to be announced Tuesday.

Bryan Derreberry, one of six finalists after a national search, will replace Charles Van Rysselberge, who announced his retirement last July after nine years with the chamber. His last day is March 31.

Derreberry, 51, has served as president and chief executive of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce since 2003. Prior to that he was president and CEO of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce in Hickory, N.C., for eight years.

“I was not looking for the position, however, when I was contacted, I became interested in investigating further,” Derreberry said. “The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce opportunity was very attractive to my family and me as each of our parents live within four to six hours of Charleston.”

He called Charleston’s natural beauty and the state’s diverse business clusters a winning economic and community development environment that was hard to pass up.

“The search committee feels Bryan is the best choice to keep the Charleston Metro Chamber and the Charleston community on its current path of economic success and growth,” local chamber board chairman Robert W. Pearce said.

Wichita Chamber Chairwoman Lynn Nichols called Derreberry an effective leader for the past seven years.

“We are sad to lose him, but understand the importance of being close to family and new opportunities,” she said. “We know Bryan’s high credibility, expertise in business and chamber management and ability to lead an organization made him a perfect candidate for Charleston.”

Derreberry has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He worked on his master’s and doctorate degrees at American University in Washington, D.C.

In 1986 Derreberry became manager of state government affairs at the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. From 1989 to 1995 he was president and CEO of The Chamber of Commerce in Middletown, Ohio.

Derreberry will remain in Wichita through the beginning of March. He will start working for the 2,000-member Charleston chamber in April.

Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.