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AUSTIN-The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s leadership for the next two years is set with Charles Barnett, a health-care executive, serving as chairman in 2002, and Rick Burciaga, a banker, taking the reins in 2003.

Barnett, senior vice president of Ascension Health, takes the leadership handoff Feb. 7 at the chamber’s annual meeting from current chair Susan Dawson, president and co-founder of the Athens Group. Burciaga, regional president of Wells Fargo Bank in Texas will serve as chair-elect until the annual meeting in 2003. Mark Hazelwood, the chamber’s president and CEO, handles day-to-day operations.

“Never has the chamber been more important than right now, when the economy needs a boost,” Barnett said in a statement. “We will have a powerful program underway to expand and revitalize business in our region, but we will also be working hard to develop our work force, build our transportation network and sustain our quality of life.”

Barnett had been president and CEO of Seton Healthcare Network and now heads the central and southern states operating group of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health system. The 45,000-employee division includes health facilities in Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas.

Burciaga, Wells Fargo’s regional president, is responsible for 47 bank locations from Georgetown to Kyle and Burnet and Kingsland in the Hill Country to East Travis County. He’s been a banker for 29 years, the past 15 with Wells Fargo and its predecessor institutions in Austin, including Norwest Banks and Franklin Federal Bancorp.

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