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President of Fort Worth Chamber resigns

Fort Worth Chambers president.JPG
Fort Worth Report

Brandom Gengelbach is leaving his position as president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, according to a press release sent out this morning.

Gengelbach started working at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in 2016 as executive vice president of economic development and became CEO in August 2020.

Gengelbach thinks the groundwork for the chamber has been established to be more competitive in economic development, and it’s time for someone new to lead the organization to new heights.

“This was a conversation between me and the volunteer leaders, the officers of the organization and I think it was an opportunity for me to be thankful for the accomplishments we made as an organization,” Gengelbach said. “And the changes that we instituted and an opportunity for me to be thankful for that opportunity and just be able to chat with them about parting ways and moving forward.”

Gengelbach is talking to his family about the next steps, he said.

The news comes as the chamber tries to step up its economic development efforts and attract businesses to Fort Worth. Fort Worth has been struggling to attract new corporations and lags behind other cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The Fort Worth Chamber recently touted 72 economic development deals in the past five years, according to a recent press release from January. 

The decision to part ways was not about performance, two members of the chamber’s executive board said.

The resignation was brought before the executive board, said Charlie Campbell, vice chair of the chamber’s executive board and senior vice president of finance and administration at Hillwood. The Chamber’s executive board approves all major decisions and strategy, Campbell said, but the decision to leave was Gengelbach’s, he said.

“I mean, he did a great job as a tireless cheerleader advocate for the Fort Worth community, which is a very complicated community that we all work in,” Campbell said. “And he did a great job at those things. As far as the specific reasons why he left …you’d probably have to talk to Brandom about those things.”

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce board chair Rosa Navejar wrote in a statement that the executive board will evaluate how to best serve the business community. One option is creating two separate organizations for economic development and for the chamber, Navejar wrote. Many cities have chosen to separate economic development from traditional chamber functions, she said.

“As a business community, it’s essential we do two things well; we must support our local businesses and ensure they have the talent and resources needed to thrive,” Navejar said in a statement. “And secondly, it’s essential we retain our hometown businesses and attract the right new companies to create new jobs for our residents here in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.”

Robert Sturns, economic development director for the City of Fort Worth, said the city’s partnership with the chamber plans to continue.

Susan Sheffield, past chair on the chamber executive board and chief financial officer at GM Financial, said the chamber is exploring different avenues for economic development and the role of the chamber. She did not say if that would result in a separate economic development corporation.

“This is a great time in our history to really position ourselves to get our fair share of businesses coming here and grow our community and continue to improve on it,” Sheffield said.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Disclosure: Hillwood is a financial supporter of the Fort Worth Report.Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at and follow on Twitter at @sbodine120

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.