Embattled Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Bill Canary stepped down from the organization Friday, following an unprecedented string of high-profile departures from the once influential lobbying group.
The New York native, who headed the organization for 15 years, said he was leaving to accept a position with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Observers said it was an exit strategy aimed at ending a running conflict within the BCA, which lost several key members, including Alabama Power, Regions Bank, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, after calls for Canary's ouster were rebuffed.
Canary's critics said he had become ineffective, pointing to a series of legislative defeats. BCA leaders, however, insisted on a transition process, with Canary remaining at the helm of the organization through the end of the year. Friday's announcement short-circuited those plans.
"It has been my great privilege to lead the BCA these past 15 years," Canary said. "During my tenure we have worked every day to make the BCA the most relevant and effective business advocacy organization in Alabama." BCA Chairman Perry Hand commended Canary for "his exceptional service," adding, "he will be difficult to replace."