Business Council of Alabama CEO Billy Canary announces retirement

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The embattled CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, Billy Canary, announced late Friday he's retiring from his post and pursuing a job with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Several big BCA backers including Alabama Power, Regions and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama announced in late June they were leaving the group because of concerns about the lobbying organization's direction, leadership and "hostile relationships" with political leaders at the state and federal level.

"It has been my great privilege to lead the BCA these past 15 years," Canary said in a press release. "During my tenure, we have worked every day to make the BCA the most relevant and effective business advocacy association in Alabama.  It has been an honor to work alongside men and women from all segments of Alabama's economy, who invest hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer service to the BCA, for what is in the collective best interest of Alabama's business community."

Alabama Power began the exodus of major BCA members on June 18, saying it had concerns with BCA's leadership, and even raised the possibility of starting a new pro-business rival lobbying group. None of the major companies who left the BCA ruled out the possibility of returning if the leadership changed, and BCA's board met days later to lay out a proposed timeline for finding a successor to Canary.

For now, the BCA says Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs Mark Colson will take over day-to-day leadership at the Council.

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