Sandy K. Baruah
Director, Term: 2017; 2018-2020President and Chief Executive Officer
Detroit Regional Chamber
The Honorable Sandy K. Baruah is president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Detroit Regional Chamber, one of the largest in the country. Under Baruah’s leadership, the chamber’s signature initiatives include Forward Detroit, a comprehensive, forward-looking regional development approach; MICHauto, a statewide strategy to advance next-generation automotive and mobility developments in Michigan; and the Mackinac Policy Conference, one of the nation’s largest and longest-running public policy conferences hosting national keynote speakers and the state’s top public and private leadership.
Baruah joined the chamber in 2010 after a distinguished career in Washington, DC. He served as President George W. Bush’s last administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this role, he was the chief executive responsible for the SBA’s 4,000 national employees and $18 billion small business loan portfolio. Baruah was one of the senior officials shaping the federal government’s response to the 2008 credit crisis and assistance to the U.S. automotive industry.
Prior to leading the SBA, Baruah served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce. In this role he was responsible for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), served as the senior advisor to the Commerce Secretary for the 2010 Census, and represented the U.S. government before the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. Before serving in the George W. Bush administration, Baruah was a corporate mergers and acquisitions consultant for the Performance Consulting Group. He also served in the administration of President George H. W. Bush (1989–1993) and was on the staff of U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood.
After leaving government service in early 2009, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a Washington, DC- based think tank comprised of corporate CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders focused on American economic competitiveness.
Baruah earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration degree from Willamette University. Baruah serves on the boards of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Automotive Hall of Fame, Detroit Economic Club and Riverfront Conservancy. He is a former Advisory Board Member of Wavepoint Ventures and Spain’s Orkestra – Institute of Competitiveness.
In 2016, Baruah was appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder as chairman of the 21st Century Economy Commission. He is a frequent commentator on local and national media regarding national political developments, automotive industry matters and Detroit and Michigan issues.