Board Selects Next President and CEO of State's Largest Business Organization

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association today announced that John Rathgeber, the organization's president and chief executive officer since 2006, will retire in early 2015.

Joe Brennan, CBIA's senior vice president for public policy, will succeed Rathgeber on January 1, 2015.

"John's leadership is marked by his strong, decisive style, his integrity, and an unwavering commitment to addressing the issues affecting Connecticut and its business community," UIL Holdings Corporation president and CEO Jim Torgerson, the chair of the CBIA's board of directors, said today.

"He successfully steered CBIA through numerous challenges over the years, growing and enhancing the organization's role as the leading voice for the state's businesses, large and small, while aggressively working to improve Connecticut's economic competitiveness."

Rathgeber joined the state's largest business organization in 1977 as a staff attorney, serving in a number of positions, including general counsel, executive vice president, and chief operating officer.

He succeeded Ken Decko as president and CEO in January, 2006, becoming just the third leader of the organization following the 1971 merger of The Manufacturers Association of Connecticut and the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.

"I am very thankful for the opportunity 37 years ago to join an organization that was clearly on the move, representing an ever growing number of businesses, expanding its services, and rapidly increasing its clout in the public policy arena," Rathgeber said today.

"I have had the honor of working with countless outstanding people from member companies across the state, including our officers and directors, and CBIA's talented staff, all of whom are committed to Connecticut's future.

"They've all played a vital role in achieving our public policy objectives and providing the state's business community with outstanding services and expert, knowledgeable guidance. I will greatly miss my daily interactions with all of them."

Rathgeber first shared his retirement plans with the executive committee of CBIA's board last September, with that group assuming the role of a search committee to find his replacement.

The board unanimously accepted the committee's recommendation that Brennan assume the president and CEO role.

"Strong leaders require strong successors." Torgerson said. "Joe's experience and personal style equip him well for the challenges ahead, and we are confident that he will build on the strong foundation laid by John.

"We're all looking forward to working with Joe and the staff at CBIA, particularly with the CT20x17 campaign to make Connecticut a top state for business, jobs, and economic growth and building a brighter future for everyone in the state."

Brennan joined CBIA in 1988 as staff attorney, assuming responsibility in 2006 for the organization's overall public policy operations including its legislative, regulatory, communications, research, and public affairs activities.

He has served on numerous legislative task forces and commissions on economic and tax policies. He also serves on several boards and councils.

"I'm grateful for the confidence that John, Jim, and our board of directors have shown in me," Brennan said today.

"And I'm looking forward to continuing to work with our member companies and policymakers to make Connecticut a more business-friendly state and improve the state's economic competitiveness."


CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, please contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957; or visit the CBIA Newsroom.