Richard H. Vortmann, Nassco’s recently retired president, has been named interim CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Vortman, 62, will lead the chamber for a few months, a chamber news release said today, while the chamber looks for a long-term successor to Jessie J. Knight Jr., 55. Knight is moving to Sempra Energy as of Aug. 1. He’ll serve there as executive vice president of external affairs.

Vortmann spent 23 years with Nassco, leading an employee buyout of the company in 1989, according to the news release. Nine years later, he saw the company through its $415 million acquisition by General Dynamics, the release said. He still serves as chairman of the company, which employs 4,200 locally.

Vortmann also served on the city of San Diego’s pension board, the Pension Reform Committee and former Mayor Dick Murphy’s Blue Ribbon Committee on City Finances – panels that all drew attention in City Hall’s financial crisis. He quietly sent letters of concern surrounding the pension system to the mayor before Murphy and the City Council approved the 2002 pension underfunding deal.


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