Karen Colimore, who has served as president & CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2006, has resigned her post to return to cancer fundraising as the senior director of development for the Langone Medical Center at New York University, where she worked prior to joining the chamber.

Vice president Adam Perle, who came to the chamber about two months after Colimore, will serve as interim president while the chamber searches for a permanent replacement.

Colimore’s official resignation takes effect this week, says Chamber chairman Larry Krampf. She will, however, stay on indefinitely as a consultant, he says.

Colimore, who was found after a lengthy nationwide search, said her decision to leave the chamber was a tough one. Several factors played into the decision, but they include two ways for Colimore to follow her heart — A, she simply wanted to return to helping cancer patients and their families find the money for treatment, and B, her fiance lives in northern New Jersey and her return to New York will make things easier on the couple.

While Krampf says the chamber is sorry to see Colimore go, it at least can do so with some built-in breathing room. Colimore, says Krampf, was brought to the chamber with the task of developing a mechanism for just this sort of situation. Transitions of administrations can be problematic and complicated if not properly organized, he says, and Colimore helped shape specific procedures to make her eventual departure a smooth process.

Part of Colimore’s early tasks at the chamber was the hiring of “a strong Number 2” designed to step in and run the operation in the absence of a president. Perle, who earned his bachelor’s in government and politics from the University of Maryland in 2002, fit the bill with his experience as a political campaign manager, and in the nonprofit sphere. Perle did development work for CancerCare of New Jersey before being tapped as the chamber’s second in command.

Perle grew up in Mountainside, in Union County, the son of a school teacher mom and a dentist dad. Not the math-and-science type, Perle says he left the future of his father’s (originally grandfather’s) 75-year-old Jersey City practice to his brother.

Perle, who has a few things in common with Colimore already (both have been affiliated with CancerCare and Colimore grew up in Maryland) says he plans to make no major changes to Colimore’s agenda. He credits Colimore with shaping the chamber into its current, high-profile self. “I look forward to following Karen’s leadership,” he says. “She’s strengthened the chamber not just fiscally but organizationally.”

Perle is a candidate for the permanent position of president, Krampf says, but he adds that the chamber board will explore all its options before making a final decision.

According to the chamber, Colimore’s watch brought not just growth in membership, but in status and money. Leading the chamber’s nearly 60 annual events and garnering state grant money for travel and tourism marketing of the Princeton region are two of her most notable achievements.

Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, 9 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton 08542; 609-924-1776; fax, 609-924-5776. Adam Perle, acting president and CEO. Home page: www.princetonchamber.org.

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