A committee of business leaders has elected former Arby’s Restaurant Group president Hala Moddelmog as the next president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Moddelmog, who has spent most of her career as a senior executive for food service companies, would succeed retiring chamber president Sam Williams, who announced in June his intent to leave the organization by the end of this year or early in 2014. She will start Jan. 6.
“I am honored to join the Metro Atlanta Chamber,” Moddelmog said in a news release. “Atlanta is uniquely positioned for success with its diverse economy, global access, abundant talent and low costs of business and lifestyle. I am looking forward to joining my colleagues on the MAC team, our board members and volunteers, as we build on a strong foundation of excellence and success to create and retain jobs, foster growth and prosperity, and promote metro Atlanta as the premier place to live, work and play.”
Moddelmog, who would become the chamber’s first female president, also will take over the organization in a time of transition. The chamber is reshaping its mission under the banner of Forward Atlanta, a multi-year campaign to boost the region’s economic mojo and to improve quality of life.
Launched last year, Forward Atlanta aims to foster startup business and growth among key Atlanta business sectors, pushing collaboration between business and higher education and promoting the region as a global center for such things as wireless telecommunications, clean technology and health care information.
The chamber is a nonprofit business interest group, funded primarily by corporate memberships. It works with governments to recruit companies and speaks for corporations on a variety of issues.
Under Williams, the chamber took on more than the typical business interests. He tackled topics as diverse as changing the state’s flag and saving Grady Memorial Hospital. Williams, a 40-year fixture in Atlanta business, led the chamber for more than 17 years.
But Williams departs not long after two bruising episodes: the chamber’s support of Atlanta Public Schools leadership despite a cheating scandal, and the failed chamber-led campaign last year to promote a transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta.
Moddelmog, 57, hold degrees from Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia.
The Hartwell native was named in May 2010 as president of Arby’s Restaurant Group, where she started her career, before leaving the company in September.
She was previously the president of Church’s Chicken, reputedly the first woman to lead a major international restaurant group, and the breast cancer survivor also formerly served as the top officer of the nonprofit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“There is an abundance of leadership talent in the Atlanta region,” said Paul Bowers, 2013 chairman of the chamber’s board of directors and president and CEO of Georgia Power. “However, Hala’s 33 years of leadership in the for- and non-profit sectors along with proven track records in marketing and brand management, fundraising and development and leading operations in franchise networks make her the ideal choice.”
Staff writer Katie Leslie contributed to this report.