The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. CEO Nick Williams announced Friday he will resign by the end of the year. (Courtesy of the Photos By Orion and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce)

The latest staffer to leave the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce is one of its biggest.

CEO Nick Williams is leaving the business organization Dec. 31 for "family reasons," the chamber said Friday afternoon.

"The opportunity to serve the Salem Chamber for the past six years has been the professional experience of a lifetime," Williams said in a written statement. "I'm grateful for the teammates, board members and leaders that have been champions for Salem with me. The Chamber is remarkable place to work."

The chamber's board of directors has already started searching for Williams' replacement, the chamber said, and expects to hire someone by the end of the year.

Williams first joined the chamber to help manage new members, but soon helped steer its political arm. He helped campaign for Salem city councilors Steve McCoid and Jim Lewis in 2014 and Jan Kailuweit and Warren Bednarz in 2016.

The chamber also cited Williams' help to defeat a local payroll tax in 2015 as an example of his impactful work. Williams eventually rose to CEO in 2017.

T.J. Sullivan, president of Huggins Insurance and president of the chamber's board of directors, called Williams an "integral part of the success," at the chamber.

"The board is thankful for his years of service and leadership," said in the announcement.

Williams is the latest employee to leave the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce in recent weeks. Five others, including its director of member services, have resigned since mid-August.

Chamber spokesperson Kate Gillem said the departures are not connected.

"This is unrelated to the employees that left," she said. "It was a decision Nick and his wife came to that it was time for a new career trajectory. Nick's work at the Chamber elevated it to a new height and it's ready for someone to take it to the next level and move forward in serving Salem businesses."

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