Greater Manchester Chamber president to step downBy MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
November 19. 2013 8:52PM
MANCHESTER — Robin Comstock, the long-serving president and chief-executive of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday announced her resignation and said Feb. 6, the date of the annual membership meeting, could be her last day on the job.
Comstock, who has led the 960-member organization since 2001, resigned without another job and said in a statement she was not sure what the next chapter in her life will bring.
"You can bet I will still be involved in some way with the community, I want to make a difference and I feel now is my time to step into that chapter," Comstock said in prepared remarks.
A chamber spokesman echoed her remarks.
"The short answer, as far as I've been told, is after 13 years, she's at a place where she's anxious to explore new chapters," said Gemma Waite French, vice president of market and public relations for the Chamber.
She said membership has grown at the chamber in the last five years from 725 to 960. And she listed a host of accomplishments under Comstock, from a downtown visitor and information center, to biennial mayoral debates, to advocacy for a downtown convention bureau and passenger rail to Manchester.
Last year, Comstock earned $94,780 a year in taxable compensation and another $11,000 in miscellaneous compensation, according to Chamber IRS filings available through Guidestar.org. The filing also showed the chamber operating in the red in each of the last two years — $42,000 in 2012 and nearly $83,000 the prior year.
Comstock tendered her resignation to Dianne Mercier, the chairman of the chamber's Board of Directors. In a statement, Mercier said she was thankful for Comstock's leadership, enthusiasm and commitment over the last 13 years. She noted the chamber achieved tremendous growth in membership and programs under Comstock.
Mercier, who is president of People's United Bank, said in an interview that she's grateful Comstock has agreed to stay on for the next 2 1/2 months. Mercier said she will discuss a process for selecting her replacement with directors when they meet next.
Mercier said she wasn't surprised at Comstock's decision, given her time on the job. She said Comstock has been good for the Chamber and had a great relationship with the community.
"There's nothing here that really isn't. It's just face value," Mercier said.