New Director Named to City Downtown Association


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After more than a month of searching, the Downtown Berkeley Association announced Tuesday its new executive director, a long-time Berkeley resident and East Bay business leader.

The association chose John Caner from more than 50 applicants to lead the association's Strategic Action Plan, which aims to make Downtown Berkeley more attractive and economically prosperous. Caner will replace Deborah Badhia, who will become the association's director of operations. Caner will receive an annual salary of $100,000.

According to a statement released by the association, Caner has helped lead Nextel Communications and PacTel Cellular. He also served as executive director of Rebuilding Together Oakland, a nonprofit organization that serves low-income seniors.

"John Caner brings real executive-level qualities to the leadership of the Downtown Berkeley Association at a time when we really feel like we're at a turning point," said Fran Gallati, interim board president for the association.

To select a qualified candidate, the association hired a consulting firm and advertised the position in relevant local and national journals, Gallati said.

According to the statement, Caner was approved unanimously by the Search Committee and Board of Directors.

Caner has lived in Berkeley for 18 years, the statement said, and has served on the board of Berkeley Partners for Parks and the Willard Neighborhood Association.

"He's someone we think can create the most vibrant and prosperous Downtown for Berkeley," Gallati said.

Contact Cristian Macavei at [email protected]

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