Ike McLeese, president and chief executive of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, will be out of commission for the next four to six weeks as he recuperates after suffering a mild heart attack Wednesday night, chamber officials said Thursday.
McLeese, 69, advocates for a variety of issues affecting local businesses. Most recently, he has helped push a petition drive for a referendum on whether Columbia should have a strong-mayor form of government. Earlier this year, he pushed Columbia City Council to approve a development deal for the landmark former Mental Health property on Bull Street.
McLeese also is a civilian liaison to the Army at a critical time as the military faces budget cuts and another round of base closings. He is on a task force working to keep South Carolina’s bases, which have a huge economic impact, open.
Scott Callison, vice president of operations for the chamber, will run day-to-day operations of the organization until McLeese returns, spokeswoman Nicole Curtis said.
Wells Fargo Midlands Market President Holt Chetwood, who took over this week as the chamber’s chairman, also will be more involved in daily operations, Curtis said. “In a situation like this, all of our chairs – past and present – come to the table.”
The chamber also will rely more heavily on committee chairs to handle policy and military issues, Curtis said.
McLeese is doing well following the heart attack, she said. It was unclear Thursday if he still was in the hospital, she said.