Chip Baker leaving Riverbend Festival after 20 years

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – As the Riverbend Board re-evaluates what to do about the festival, they’ll do it without the man who has led Friends of the Festival for the last two decades.

Chip Baker has officially stepped down as CEO of the organization that put on the annual summer festival in Chattanooga.

He is taking a new job with a consulting firm.

Baker’s departure comes as the Board is considering what to do about Riverbend next year.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Board Chair Jay Jolley issued a statement in which he acknowledged “the 2019 event did not perform as well as expected and, therefore, the Friends of the Festival Board is evaluating a number of options on next steps as we look to 2020.”

Here is Chip Baker’s full message:

It has been my pleasure to serve as the CEO of Friends of the Festival and Riverbend for the past 20 years.  In July, I announced to my Board my decision to move forward from my role of leading this organization, effective with the completion of my contract on October 1. 

 

My family and I are grateful for the friendships and a lifetime of memories the Festival has given us!    I am especially appreciative of all the people I have had the opportunity to work with over these past many years including the sponsors, community leaders, my Board of Directors and the Friends of the Festival staff and volunteers. 

 

Riverbend began over 40 years ago as a vision, by a very small group of community leaders, to bring people together to celebrate our community.  Though the festival has evolved and changed, the vision has remained the same.

 

I spent the first 19 years of my career as a hospital administrator and the past 20 as an event manager.  My next phase will be taking my 39 years of management experience to work with a world class management consulting company, Crestcom.  I will remain with the festival as long as necessary to assure that, together, a seamless transition occurs.  

 

Thank you for allowing me to lead this team and this wonderful event for two decades.  And most importantly, thank you Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley for making this a great place to be active in the community, have a rewarding career, and raise a family.  We love this community and we will be forever grateful.

 

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