Local banking leader named to top job at PA chamber

Gene Barr, left, is being followed by Luke Bernstein, right, as president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber. (photos submitted)

Pennsylvania’s statewide business chamber has tapped a local banking executive as its next leader.

  • Luke Bernstein, an executive at Shippensburg-based Orrstown Financial Services, is poised to become the next president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • As of June 15, he will be taking over for Gene Barr, who announced his retirement last fall after more than a decade leading the Harrisburg-based voice of business.
  • “I couldn’t be more pleased to see Luke named as my successor, and he has my utmost support,” Barr said in a statement. “With his diversified experience in the public and private sectors, he knows how to effect the change needed to drive our economy forward.”

What experience: Bernstein, 43, joined Orrstown in 2017 as a senior vice president and chief communications officer.

  • In 2018, he was promoted to executive vice president and named the bank’s chief retail officer.
  • Last year, he became the bank’s chief operations and technology officer.
  • Before coming to Orrstown, Bernstein spent two years as senior vice president of external affairs for the Pennsylvania Bankers Association
  • He also has held several public-sector jobs, including stints as deputy chief of staff for former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and as an adviser in the administration of former President George W. Bush.

What’s next: Bernstein is taking the Chamber’s top job at a pivotal time.

  • Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers are on the verge of delivering significant cuts to business taxes, a longtime priority for the chamber.
  • And the state economy faces challenges from inflation and a shortage of workers.
  • In six months, meanwhile, Pennsylvania voters head to the polls to pick a new governor.
  • The chamber hosted the only debate in the 2018 race between Wolf, a Democrat, and his GOP challenger, former state Sen. Scott Wagner. 
  • “I’m eager to get started and to continue the incredible work done during Gene’s tenure to accelerate our post-pandemic recovery with a focus on attracting and retaining both world-class employers and skilled employees, which are vital to creating the competitive and thriving economy we know the Commonwealth can, should, and will be,” Bernstein said in a statement.

Who made the pick: A seven-person committee led by Nicholas Bertram, president of Carlisle-based The Giant Co., and Brion Lieberman, chief human resources officer at Geisinger, the Danville-based health system.

  • The committee’s other members included:
    • David Kleppinger, chairman emeritus of Harrisburg law firm McNees Wallace & Nurick
    • John Lawn, chairman, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
    • Manuel Mar, a senior vice president in commercial banking for Bank of America
    • Christina Marsh, chief diversity and community development officer at Erie Insurance
    • Kim Van Utrecht, a district president for shipping giant UPS
  • They were assisted by Chicago-based executive search firm Spencer Stuart

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