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Alisha Benson named interim CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated after Steve Stevens’ abrupt resignation

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 14, 2015

Alisha Benson will become interim CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated next week following the abrupt resignation this week of current CEO Steve Stevens.

The GSI board will meet Monday to begin work on its search for a permanent CEO, according to a letter sent to the business organization’s members from current chairwoman Christine Johnson, the chancellor of Community Colleges of Spokane.

Johnson said in an interview Wednesday that the board will look at local, regional and national candidates for the job.

Stevens announced Tuesday he was quitting after 15 months on the job. His last day is Friday.

Former CEO Rich Hadley will help with the search for a new chief executive of the business-promotion and public policy nonprofit. Former Avista executive Anne Marie Axworthy will work with Benson, who is on maternity leave from her current post as GSI’s vice president of education and workforce.

Benson served as interim CEO for a short time when Hadley retired, before Stevens arrived, Johnson said.

In announcing his resignation, Stevens told GSI’s board that he intended to move back to Kentucky to be closer to family. He cited a recent trip home when “it became evident to us that the time had come for us to get a bit closer to our home so we can be more readily available to support our family,” he said in a letter. “Put simply, they need us.”

Stevens took over as president and CEO of GSI in July 2014. He previously was CEO and president of the 1,800-member Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

Said Johnson, the board chairwoman, of Stevens’ departure, “We all make decisions based on our personal lives, and I respect his.”

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