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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

Hong to resign as Chamber president

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Stanley Hong announced last night that he will resign as president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i.

Stanley Hong, Chamber of Commerce president since 1996, did not say why he is resigning from the post.

Advertiser library photo

Hong, 65, has led the chamber since March 1996. He would not state why he was leaving other than to say: "I believe it's time for a change."

"This was not an easy decision for me, but I feel it is the right one," Hong said. "I'm proud to leave the chamber in better condition than I found it. We have made steady progress in raising our credibility and effectiveness and in attaining financial stability."

When Hong took the helm five years ago, the chamber often was at odds with the visitor industry. But Hong came to the chamber from a nine-year stint as head of the Hawai'i Visitors Bureau and helped to bridge the gap between downtown and Waikiki businesses.

"There's a very positive working relationship and a lot of overlap," said the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau's chief executive officer, Tony Vericella.

Vericella pointed to HVCB Chairman Chris Resich, who also is the chairman-elect for the chamber.

Lily Yao, chamber chairwoman and vice president of First Hawaiian Bank, praised Hong for his accomplishments at the chamber.

"When Stanley joined the chamber, it was deep in debt, with expenses running out of control," Yao said. "We appreciate his hard work in bringing stability and growth to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i.

Former chamber chairman James Tollefson will serve as acting president and CEO beginning Monday. Tollefson retired earlier this year after 14 years with Bank of Hawaii. Yao said Hong will serve as a consultant to Tollefson and the chamber until the end of the year.

Hong recently was named a trustee of the King William Charles Lunalilo Trust Estate. The estate owns and operates the Lunalilo Home.