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Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams retires | Business

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Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams retires

ATLANTA - Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams announced his retirement on Tuesday. According to a release, he told the Chamber's executive committee he will retire at the end of 2013 or when a replacement is hired.

Williams has served as the Chamber's president since December 1996, and had been at the forefront of a number of initiatives, including helping the city meet the standards of the Clean Water Act, to helping to attract more high tech, logistics and bioscience firms to Metro Atlanta.

At 68, Williams has served three years beyond the commitment he made in 1996 to serve until age 65. At the encouragement of the Chamber's executive committee, Williams has agreed to extend his contract until the end of the year, or until a replacement can be hired in 2014.

"Since early this year, I've been in discussions with our board's executive officers on the steps we'll need to take to start a thorough search for my replacement," Williams said. "By announcing my retirement today, the board will have seven months to identify my replacement while also allowing time for an effective transition."

During Williams' 17-year tenure, the Chamber has recruited more than 700 firms to the region, creating more than 75,000 direct jobs.

"We must create the dialogue around issues that impact our entire community's quality of life, even if it means tackling unpopular ones," said Williams. "I'm proud of our track record. I know the Chamber will continue to make Atlanta an attractive place to do business, to live, to go to school and to make a good life."

Williams says he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, but says he looks forward to continuing to serve the people of Metro Atlanta.

"In retirement, I'm looking forward to spending more time with my new wife Nancy, my daughters and my three grandsons," Williams said. "I will continue to serve on boards, teach, consult and be involved with the Atlanta community that I love so much and have been proud and humbled to serve."