Brad Dean resigns as CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce

WPDE photo of Brad Dean from the announcement on Tuesday, March 13.

Brad Dean, the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, has announced his resignation.

Dean made the announcement to the board Tuesday morning, according to the Chamber Board Chair Carla Schuessler, who said she reluctantly accepted.

Dean did not give a specific reason for his departure from the chamber, but hinted that it was for another career opportunity.

"An opportunity that is unique and special and will not come again and, while I'm excited, it's a bitter-sweet experience because I am leaving some of the best friendships, and one of the best jobs anyone could ever want to have for an opportunity where I am going to get to serve at an even higher level and I think at a time where I could do a lot of good," Dean said.

In a news release, the chamber said "Brad has decided to accept an opportunity that will be rewarding both personally and professionally."

You can watch the full news conference in the player below.

Dean joined the chamber in 1998 as the Chief Financial Officer and in 2003 became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

He said he came to the area to start a restaurant and "thought this would be a transitional job, but it became much more than that."

His friends and business partners say he'll be tough to replace.

"He will be greatly missed. It's a sad day for me, and I think it's a sad day for Myrtle Beach," said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune.

Bethune says she's known Dean for 15 years as a friend and a mentor.

"He's done an excellent job in ways that much of the public really don't know about and that includes the involvement that he has with our state, and our national legislators," she said.

Former Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace agrees.

Some critics of Dean aren't a fan of the tourism development fee, but Wallace says the TDF got the ball rolling in Myrtle Beach.

"You'd have to be Stevie Wonder to ride down this road and not see the change if you've been here any length of time that Myrtle Beach has had since that was passed in 2009," said Wallace.

Reaction to Dean's departure is mixed on social media, but Dean is focused on the future.

"I'm most excited about the opportunity to take what I've learned here and apply it in a whole new way at a whole new level. I will take all of the lessons that I've learned and hopefully be able to positively impact a lot of lives down the road," said Dean in an interview with ABC 15.

Brad Dean is the third president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach chamber of commerce in 55 years.

The board has already started a national search for both a CEO and a Government Affairs Director, according to a news release. Dean will continue in his role at the Chamber for approximately two months while candidates are being sought.

This story will be updated as more information comes in.

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