BANGOR, Maine — Longtime Maine journalist John Porter has been named the new president and CEO of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, replacing Candy Guerette, whose contract was terminated last summer.
Porter will resume management of the 800-member chamber later this month.
“The vote to support John Porter was unanimous and enthusiastic,” said chamber board member Jerry Whalen, who chaired the search committee. “We are confident that he will provide the transform-ing leadership we need for a much more proactive chamber in the future.”
Porter recently had founded a communications and government relations firm based in South Port-land, but prior to that he spent nearly 20 years as a reporter, editor and editorial page editor of the Port-land Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He left the paper late June when it was sold to new owners.
“John possesses the key attributes that the board wanted in its new president,” said John Diamond, chair of the chamber’s board of directors. “He understands and has been a high-profile advocate for business and economic development and for collaborative efforts to advance those mutually dependent interests.”
During his journalism career, which began shortly after he graduated in 1982 from Boston University, Porter worked at several newspapers in and around Boston. Early in his career at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Porter was an active leader in the paper’s largest union and led its bargaining efforts.
In his recent capacity as a communications consultant for Biddeford-based GWI Inc, Porter worked to secure a $25.4 million federal grant for the Three Ring Binder project, a fiber-optic network that would enhance broadband Internet access in rural Maine.
He was born and raised in Connecticut. He and his wife, along with their two children, will relocate to Bangor soon.
Porter is expected to be introduced to chamber members at the chamber’s annual business breakfast on Tuesday, Jan. 12. at Spectacular Event Center.
Guerette, who led the chamber for almost 13 years, was let go by the chamber board of directors’ executive committee last July. That committee cited poor job performance but not elaborate. The decision led to a short but bitter dispute over the reasons for her dismissal and the terms of her severance pack-age.
Since mid-July, Karen Cole, the chamber’s marketing and communications director, has served as interim president.
“Karen provided a truly outstanding job as interim president,” Diamond said. “The board, staff, and I are extremely grateful for the tremendous job she has done. She will continue to be a great resource for our new president and for the board.”