Business & Real Estate

SACTO discussing ‘consolidation’ with upstart organization

The region’s leading business recruiter, SACTO, said this week it’s talking to an upstart group about a possible “organizational consolidation,” although nothing has been worked out.

Barbara Hayes, president and chief executive of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization, said in an email to SACTO members Thursday that she hopes an agreement on consolidation can be reached with the new group.

In an interview Friday, Hayes downplayed the notion of a full merger between the 40-year-old SACTO and the new group, which calls itself the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council.

“We’re talking, and I wouldn’t use the word ‘merger,’ ” she said. “We’re talking about how we can use the resources of both organizations for the greater good of the community.” She said SACTO has been talking to the area economic council for several months.

The new group was formed earlier this year by area chief executive officers. Its interim leader, former SureWest Communications CEO Steve Oldham, has said he thinks the area economic council can be more effective because of the direct involvement of CEOs. The group had secured funding commitments totaling $1.5 million as of late June.

Oldham, in a prepared statement, said, “We are committed to working with organizations from across the region to ensure success in economic development.”

It appears the new group’s formation was sparked, at least in part, by dissatisfaction in some quarters over SACTO. John Frisch, former chairman of the Sacramento Metro Chamber, said in June that some executives in the community were disappointed when SACTO decided last year not to pursue a proposed merger with the chamber. Frisch said the economic council has received encouragement from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

In her email to SACTO members, Hayes said “no consolidation or restructuring of the organization will be possible without a vote of SACTO’s Board of Directors and member approval via written ballot.” Her organization has about 400 members.