By Dave DeWitte

Dee Baird today resigned as president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, where she has served for almost six years.

In her position, Ms. Baird had a major role in merging the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cedar Rapids Downtown District and economic development agency Priority One into the Economic Alliance in January 2012.

“Upon reflecting on the successes with the Economic Alliance and my work-life balance, I am leaving the position at this time to focus on my family at an important time in our lives,” Ms. Baird said in a press release.

Doug Neumann, who had been serving as executive vice president, was named interim president and CEO. The Economic Alliance Board of Directors announced plans to conduct a nationwide search for a new president and CEO.

“We are grateful for Dee’s vision and leadership during her tenure at the Economic Alliance,” said Lydia Brown, board chair, in a press release. “Dee was able to successfully set a strategic direction for the Economic Alliance, which has set the course for the future. We are grateful for the high-performing team that is in place and we wish Dee the best in her future endeavors.”

Ms. Baird, 52, was a member of the CBJ’s inaugural Women of Influence class in 2005, and has been voted among the Corridor’s 25 most-influential leaders by CBJ readers.

She has served on more than a dozen boards and commissions at the local, state and national levels, including the Association of Business and Industry, Eastern Iowa Airport Commission, Hall Perrine Foundation Board and Diversity Focus Board.

Ms. Baird expressed pride in the Economic Alliance’s accomplishments during her tenure, including the growth in its membership base to 1,200 employers, its new joint venture with the Iowa City Area Development Group, and a new regional vision strategy.

“All of these efforts will continue to help the region grow and prosper,” Ms. Baird said.