I’ve now heard from two sources so I’m going to go ahead and engage in a little shameless speculation about who might take over the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce after CEO Jessie Knight’s defection to Sempra Energy.

Word has it that an interesting little power struggle has broken out among the city’s ruling elite. A cadre of familiar faces have begun to position themselves – and have their friends position them – as candidates for the surprisingly lucrative post. I haven’t confirmed what Jessie Knight’s salary was but if it was as fat as I heard, it could definitely attract the cream of San Diego’s little crop.

Hence a few names on the list of possible new CEOs for the Chamber include:

  • Ted “I’m a Republican-loving Democrat” Roth – the Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. veteran.
  • Bill “Does He Want to Be Mayor?” Geppert – the head of Cox Communications in San Diego.
  • Doug Sawyer – if this CEO of the United Way were to make it, it would pretty much solidify the United Way as the stepping stone – or weigh station on the route – to power in this city.
  • Juan Vargas – the assemblyman’s days in Sacramento are numbered. Why not reassert his stature locally. He’s a mildly successful politician. Question: How is he as a manager? Question No. 2: Does the Chamber’s CEO really do much managing?

Others include County Supervisor Ron Roberts, former state Sen. Dede Alpert and the U-T dropped the name of former banker Peter Q. Davis as a candidate.

Some, of course, have wondered if the Chamber’s overseers might seize this opportunity to redirect the organization into one that’s a bit more proactive on crucial local issues.

I won’t write anything sarcastic here.

If I’ve left anyone off the list or put too many people on it, shoot me a quick email. I’ll keep updating.


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