Chris Wallace, the longtime leader of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, plans to leave his post to accept the position of president of the Texas Association of Business, which oversees chamber activities for the Lone Star state.

Wallace, 44, plans to serve as president and CEO of Irving’s chamber through the end of his contract, which ends on May 1. The Irving-Las Colinas Chamber has begun to create a search committee — made up of board members, past chairmen and partnership organizations — to find a new president and CEO. The group plans to name an interim president and CEO in the next few weeks, with plans to permanently fill the position by mid-August. The Dallas Business Journal’s Publisher, Tracy Merzi, serves on the chamber board.

Wallace led the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce for the past decade. Under his leadership, the group became the first national Five-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce in Texas and was awarded the inaugural Texas Outstanding Chamber of the Year award. Wallace will begin his new position as president of the Texas Association of Business on May 15. He will report to Bill Hammond, who will remain CEO of the statewide organization. The Dallas Business Journal chats with Wallace about the reasons for his move and his ambitions for Texas’ economic development.

Why did you decided to leave the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber? I’ve been there just about 10 years. My contract comes up May 1 and I had a great opportunity to work with our state. I worked closely with the Texas Association of Business in my capacity here, and I admire Bill and his team there. I look forward to being part of their team.

Do you have any grand positions to replace Hammond as CEO of the Texas Association of Business upon his retirement? Bill Hammond will continue on as CEO. He’s a former legislator from Dallas and has been there awhile. Who knows what the future will hold. I’m happy to be part of his team.

Will you show any favoritism to Irving, or North Texas, in your new statewide position? I’ve loved serving the Irving community, but now I’ll be able to help Irving grow on another level. I will obviously represent business interests throughout the state, but I get the issues of small businesses and large corporations on the front lines.

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