STAMFORD — The Business Council of Fairfield County announced this week that its CEO and president, Christopher Bruhl, will retire at the end of this month and be replaced by an economic development and innovation expert who has spent more than a decade in Portland, Ore.

Bruhl’s retirement will culminate a 30-year run at the Stamford-based Business Council, a nonprofit membership organization that plays a key role in helping public officials as well as business and community leaders to develop policies and programs aimed at boosting economic development and improving the area’s quality of life.

His successor, Erin Flynn, previously served as the founder and executive director of the Portland Innovation Quadrant, which connected companies and academic institutions with entrepreneurs and startups.

“This is an exciting moment,” Bruhl said in a statement. “I am delighted that a proven, creative, collaborative leader has accepted the opportunity to take a great organization to an even higher level of excellence.”

In addition to her work at the Innovation Quadrant, Flynn has led economic and community development initiatives in Oregon’s largest city through a number of other roles.

From 2011 to 2018, she served as associate vice president for strategic partnerships at Portland State University. From 2007 to 2011, she served as Portland’s urban development director.

Before moving to Portland, Flynn spent a a decade as a national policy and strategy consultant based in Boston. Her clients included national foundations, chambers of commerce, regional planning organizations and local and state governments.

“I am excited to return to New England where I have deep professional roots and thrilled to serve as the new president and CEO of The Business Council,” Flynn said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing my passion and experience for innovation, collaboration and inclusion to Fairfield County.”

Among other roles, Flynn served from 2016 to 2019 as chairwoman of the Oregon Innovation Council, the Beaver State’s investment platform for innovation and entrepreneurship from 2013 to 2018 as an executive committee member of Greater Portland Inc., Portland’s economic development corporation.

“Every metro region is challenged to accelerate coordinated efforts to compete in the global economy,” Flynn said. “With its proximity to New York City, highly skilled workforce and quickly urbanizing landscape, I believe Fairfield County is extraordinarily well positioned for the decade ahead. I am excited to work with the board, the Council’s exceptional professional staff and regional partners to help the county’s businesses and communities thrive.”

Business Council officials said they conducted a nationwide search for the new CEO and president.

“Erin is bringing to the organization an understanding of what makes regions work and how partnerships can be leveraged to support economic growth,” Darrell Harvey, the Business Council’s board search committee co-chairman and co-CEO of The Ashforth Co., said in a statement.

“Her leadership experience directly correlates with the strategic priorities of The Business Council. As our region and businesses evolve to meet current demands, Erin’s expertise in public-private sector collaboration will help further stimulate innovation and economic growth,” he said.

The Business Council is based in the downtown Landmark Square complex. It was formed in 1970 through the merger of three organizations, with the oldest of them dating to 1890.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott