The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce (GSCC) has hired Illinois State Representative Mike Murphy to serve as its next president and CEO. He will take the helm on Dec. 1. Outgoing president and CEO Chris Hembrough will leave at the end of November to assume a new strategic and business development role with Peerless Cleaning & Restoration Services.

Murphy was elected as a state representative for the 99th District in 2018 and won re-election in 2020. Recent changes to the district maps would have forced him to run against longtime ally Avery Bourne, and Murphy said that he would not seek re-election in 2022 if the new legislative maps were upheld by the courts.

Murphy stated, “The opportunity to lead The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce is extremely exciting and humbling for me. I understand the importance of a vibrant economy and appreciate the hard work that our local businesses do to make Springfield a special place to live. I want to thank Chris Hembrough for the great work he has done and look forward to building on the foundation we have to take Springfield and Sangamon County to even greater heights.”

Murphy was also previously a small business owner, running Charlie Parker’s Diner from 2009-2017, and has served in multiple executive and management roles in private industry throughout his career.

Board chair Mark Donovan said, “Mike’s unyielding advocacy for the business community at the state level, his reputation in our community and his vision for taking the Chamber to the next level made him the ideal candidate for the position.” According to Donovan, the search committee considered 36 candidates from the central Illinois region but were unanimous in their selection of Murphy.

Hembrough said he also shared Donovan and the board’s enthusiasm for Murphy leading the Chamber. “I don’t know of a better person to the lead the Chamber into the future. As a former business owner and executive, Mike certainly understands the challenges and needs of our business community. I have no doubt, he will serve our members and community very well.”

The GSCC is the second largest Chamber of Commerce in the state of Illinois, with a membership of more than 1,300 local businesses from a variety of industries.