Two of Baltimore’s most prominent business organizations, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and the Greater Baltimore Committee, announced on Wednesday afternoon that they will be merging to create one organization.
“The new entity will represent a bold vision for how Baltimore will compete and thrive on regional, national and global stages and guide the strategic role business will need to play. This singular organization will have a future-ready mindset and orientation focused on delivering equitable, dynamic and sustainable economic impact that benefits the entire greater Baltimore community,” the GBC said in a press release.
The two organizations aim to finalize the merger by the end of the month, the quick turnaround owing to the urgency of the problems currently facing Baltimore, according to Calvin Butler, the GBC’s chairman and senior executive vice president of Exelon and chief executive officer of Exelon Utilities.
“We can’t wait,” he said.
The news comes only a week after the GBC’s long-time president and CEO, Donald C. Fry, announced that he would retire after serving in the organization’s top post for almost two decades, effective June 1. Fry will lead the joint organization between its creation and his retirement. A search committee chaired by Howard Bank founder Mary Ann Scully will begin the nationwide search for the joint organization’s leader in February, according to Butler, with the goal of filling the position by the time Fry retires
For the time being, the joint organization will continue to be known as the Greater Baltimore Committee and will be based out of the GBC’s offices in downtown Baltimore.
The organizations are two of many, sometimes referred to as the city’s “alphabet soup,” that aim to advocate for and provide support to Baltimore area businesses. The large number of organizations can make it difficult for them to coordinate and collaborate on large-scale initiatives and efforts — and can also make it challenging for members of the business community to keep track of which organizations offer different resources and programs.
According to Brian Pieninck, EAGB’s chair and the CEO of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, merging the EAGB and the GBC will hopefully allow the new organization to do a better job of bringing together the efforts and voices of different companies, communities, nonprofits and more.
“There are incredible things being done individually,” he said. “But … there really wasn’t a coalescing of all those individual organizations.”
Pieninck also noted that conversations about merging these two organizations, as well as other solutions to Baltimore’s “fragmented” business landscape, have been “ongoing for more than a decade.”
Traditionally, the GBC has focused largely on advocacy and legislative efforts, while EAGB has focused more on research and marketing.
Following the merger, the new organization’s first goals will be to create a “game plan” for the organization, Butler said, as well as to bring stakeholders to the table, figure out who is going to be involved in the new organization and learn about how they want to participate in the organization.
“Our whole point here is to be inclusive and bring more people to the table,” he said.