After years working in government, David Oh is ready to make his next move – and it’s no longer with the public sector. 

Starting Monday, Oh will lead the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia as president and CEO. He will be responsible for the management and operation of AACCGP and will report to its board of directors. 

At age 63, Oh said he wanted to do something meaningful with his life after eleven years on Philadelphia City Council and a failed Republican mayoral bid last year. 

“I’ve invested a significant portion of my life in public service,” he said. “…So, what I was looking for was – how can I continue to do these important things? … “I like to organize and I like to bring people together, network and give them a voice and be their advocate. I get to do that with the chamber … I like the mission,” he said. 

Oh said the position will be permanent, full-time, where he will collaborate with the business community to find ways to “make the city more competitive, robust and dynamic.”

Oh replaces Khine Zaw Arthur, who stepped down from her post as president and CEO in October, citing family obligations, according to her LinkedIn profile

Narasimha Shenoy, AACCGP Board Chair, told Broad + Liberty that he’s known Oh since the early 1990s and had worked with him during his time on City Council. After Arthur left, Shenoy approached Oh about the possibility of replacing her. 

“It was clear that his vision for our businesses and the community is the same as ours,” said Shenoy. “[Oh] has the ability to build consensus in our diversified community. Through his network, he will be able to build our board, staff and financial strength of the organization. As a former legislator, he can work with the City Council to bring our issues to the limelight.”

Shenoy identified the rise in anti-Asian hate as one of the most pressing challenges facing many of Philadelphia’s Asian Americans. The pandemic worsened the problem, he said, leading to a negative impact on businesses and a 25 percent increase in poverty throughout the community. 

“Most of our businesses are owned by families with lack of management skills and language issues,” Shenoy said. “With [Oh’s] experience working with a diversified Asian community, he has the ability to work with these businesses to meet their needs.”

Oh said that similar to his priorities during his mayoral campaign, he will look for opportunities for job creation and economic development in this new role. 

“‘Business’ is sometimes a dirty word in our city, and it should not be,” he said. 

Asked if he missed serving on City Council, Oh flatly said “no,” chalking it up to just another past experience:

“That’s not because I hate City Council. It’s like I don’t miss high school. I don’t miss college. I don’t miss the military. I don’t miss City Council because I did that. In other words, it’s done. I was happy to do it.”

Jenny DeHuff has been a multimedia journalist for the past fifteen years in Philadelphia. Her bylines include the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Playboy Magazine, City & State PA, and Philly Voice. She’s won multiple awards for investigative journalism. @RuffTuffDH

2 thoughts on “David Oh takes new job as president of Philly Asian Chamber of Commerce”

  1. Interesting article. I would have expected Oh to make a greater push for mayor and wished more of what he said in this piece was more apparent on his messaging during his campaign. It’s one thing to have a vastly underrepresented party in running for office; it’s another to make very little noise in the effort to win. The stasis continues in our City electoral and representative system.

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