MARTINEZ -- Mary Peinado is out as leader of the Martinez Chamber of Commerce after just three months.
Peinado started as chief executive officer on May 1, replacing Cynthia Murdough, who stepped down for personal reasons in January. During her three-month review, Peinado said board members told her she wasn't the right fit for the organization.
"I was surprised, I thought I was doing everything I could for the chamber, and I really enjoyed the job," said Peinado, who lives in Antioch.
The chamber board of directors announced Peinado's departure in an Aug. 3 news release.
"It was a mutual agreement, basically," said Marie Knutson, board chairwoman. "She's a good salesperson, we were happy with what she had accomplished for us. But it just wasn't a good fit for other reasons."
Knutson declined to elaborate on why the board of directors felt Peinado was the wrong choice to lead the chamber.
"It's just there were other pieces that we needed, and it just wasn't a good fit. But again, she is an energetic young lady and good at sales," Knutson added.
In January, Knutson said Murdough had "raised the bar" during her three years leading the chamber. Murdough increased attendance at the annual "King of the County BBQ" event and arranged a preview screening in Martinez of the Ken Burns PBS documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," which featured John Muir's key role in creating the national park system.
Peinado and Knutson attended the July 25 City Council meeting to report on the chamber's activities. Despite the broiling heat during the King of the County BBQ in June, Knutson told the council the event was very successful.
Knutson ran through a list of the chamber's activities and accomplishments and praised Peinado, "We are moving forward with vision and excitement; again we hired our new CEO and she's doing a great job."
According to the Knutson, the board interviewed nine applicants, including former Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce chief executive Charley Daly, before hiring Peinado. When board members meet this week to discuss the search for a new leader, they will decide whether to reopen the application process or go back to the previous pool of candidates, Knutson said.
"I'm very lucky to have a really strong staff and an incredibly supportive board, and I think we'll be fine," she added.
Peinado, who was executive director of the Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce before coming to Martinez, said she enjoys the work.
"It's just one of those things, I'm moving forward and looking for other work," she said. "I wish the Martinez chamber the best. I think Martinez is an awesome community."
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.