Class act! Brooklyn Chamber honcho moves on to prestigious CUNY post

In chage: Hector Batista, who started his career in Borough Hall under former beep Howard Golden, is the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s new president and chief-executive officer.
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

He’s heading back to school!

The leader of Brooklyn’s biggest small-business booster has accepted a high-ranking post at City University of New York, and will be bidding bon voyage to Kings County commerce come June 28.

Hector Batista, who became the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s first Hispanic president and chief executive officer when he started in October, will have served only seven months as the head of the borough’s chief business advocacy group upon his departure.

But there’s no hard feelings over the CEO’s lightening-fast exit, according to Chamber Chairwoman Ana Oliveira, who applauded Batista’s brief, but effective leadership, and said members can look forward to the announcement of new programs in the coming weeks.

“While brief, Hector’s tenure leaves us even stronger as an organization than we were when he arrived just a few months ago,” Oliveira said.

The business honcho will be leaving to serve as chief operating officer at one of the country’s largest public university systems, which has 24 campuses across the city, including Downtown Brooklyn and Crown Heights, and last year boasted an enrollment of more than 274,000 students across all schools.

As president, Batista headed each of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s three arms, including its non-for-profit economic development wing, the Brooklyn Alliance, and Brooklyn Alliance Capital, which funneled federal grants to Brooklyn mom and pops in the form of small-business loans, among other things.

Batista signed up to lead Brooklyn Chamber following an eight-year stint as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a non-for-profit mentorship program serving kids in all five boroughs, where he could also boast as serving as the first Hispanic man to hold the title.

Prior to that, Batista served Brooklyn at the Borough President’s office as director of real estate for the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, director of economic development and director of development and finance for nine years, before leaving Kings County for city-wide appointment by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

He replaced Andrew Hoan as president, who served in the post since 2016.

The Chamber plans on appointing an interim president in the coming days, according to a spokesman, who could not say whether a new president would be appointed before Batista steps down.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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