Juanita Duggan has resigned as president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business amid declining membership, saying she is looking for a “fresh challenge.”
Ms. Duggan, the small business association’s first female CEO, held the post since 2016. She said she will start a consulting firm in late February.
“After reaching several personal and professional milestones, I have found myself feeling it is time for a fresh challenge,” Ms. Duggan said in a statement. “So this announcement marks not a retirement but a new and exciting beginning.”
The NFIB was once considered the most influential voice for small business in Washington, boasting of more than 600,000 members during its heyday about 20 years ago.
In her statement, Ms. Duggan referred to NFIB now having “almost 300,000 members.”
In June, The Washington Times reported that NFIB was grappling with troubling finances, reduced membership and diluted clout. The association had cut about 20% of its workforce from 2014 to 2018, and its liabilities were $19 million larger than its assets.
Ms. Duggan’s bio no longer appears on the NFIB’s web site. Brad Close, senior vice president for public policy, is now acting president.
Ms. Duggan pointed to accomplishments during her tenure, including the 2017 tax cuts and regulatory relief under the Trump administration, “an award-winning rebrand,” doubling of NFIB political programs, and a “pivotal role in two Supreme Court nominations.”
“These achievements contributed to a surge in optimism among America’s small business owners,” she said. “I am very proud of this record and the NFIB team. I am also a personal member of NFIB and intend to remain so.”
She said her new firm, to be called Clarifyd, will help “high-level clients clarify, confront, and solve their highest-stakes problems.”