Jim Roche, CEO & president of the Business & Industry Association of NH since 2005, is leaving the statewide advocacy group to lead the Maine Bankers Association as its next president.
“Leaving the best job I’ve ever had was a difficult decision,” Roche said. “But after nearly 17 years at the helm of BIA, I’m ready for the new challenges and opportunities this change will bring.”
"The officers and board of directors of BIA want to thank Jim for his incredible leadership of this organization for the past 17 years. Although Jim will be sorely missed, he leaves BIA in an outstanding position for continued growth and success," says Sheryl McQuade, chair of BIA’s board and regional president of TD Bank. "The team is currently working on a plan to ensure a smooth leadership transition as we commence the search for Jim's replacement."
Roche points to a number of accomplishments during his tenure, including rebranding BIA as “New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce”; creating a more assertive posture on public policy matters affecting the business community; publishing an annual legislative scorecard to hold legislators accountable for their votes on issues affecting the employer community; creating an annual policy-setting process culminating with a set of public policy priorities for the business community; creating successful events like BIA’s annual New Hampshire Leadership Summit for legislators and other state policy leaders, New Hampshire Economic Summit, Small Business Day, and others; creating an affiliate membership program for small business members of local chambers of commerce, and more.
The Maine Bankers Association (MBA) represents the industry in legislative and regulatory matters, creates educational programming, and offers insurance services for member banks.
“The Maine Bankers Association is very excited to have Jim Roche join our team as president,” says MBA’s Chair Curtis Simard, president and CEO of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. “Jim’s charisma, energy and proven track record over many years leading BIA, and throughout his career, made him the perfect choice for our association.”
Under Roche’s leadership, BIA’s membership grew nearly 50% through 2020, and programming and overall revenue grew substantially as well.
“Membership retention last year, the year of the pandemic, was 95%. That’s something I’m very proud of,” Roche said. “This year is shaping up to BIA’s best in decades, so I feel good about leaving the association in very good condition.”
Roche expressed admiration for BIA’s staff and board of directors. “The team at BIA, my colleagues on staff, are some of the brightest and most dedicated people I’ve ever worked with. I’m sad to be leaving them. And BIA’s board, the strongest of any group in New Hampshire, has given me the confidence and support from my first year on the job to pursue new ideas and opportunities that strengthen BIA’s value proposition. They’ve all been just incredible!” he says.
Roche has built flexibility into his transition and expects to leave the BIA between Aug. 16 and Sept. 1..