Citizens Bank executive Daniel K. Fitzpatrick was officially appointed chairman of the board at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.
Fitpatrick is president and CEO of Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York.
More than 1,500 regional business leaders attended the 212th annual meeting of the chamber, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. They welcomed Fitzpatrick and thanked outgoing Chairman William P. Hankowsky, the chairman, president and CEO of Liberty Property Trust.
NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, a University of Pennsylvania graduate and former reporter for Channel 3 and KYW Newsradio in the 1970s, was the featured speaker for the breakfast meeting.
Fitzpatrick spoke after Hankowsky and GPCC President and CEO Rob Wonderling. Fitzpatrick, who was born, raised and educated in Philadelphia, joined Citizens Bank in 2007 from Bank of America, where he served as market president.
“First and foremost, we believe now is the time to jump start our local economy by renewing the commitment to reduce taxes on employers and employees,” Fitzpatrick said. “While the nation’s unemployment rate is decreasing, Philadelphia’s hovers at an alarmingly high 11.1 percent. If we are to truly unleash this city’s entrepreneur spirit and create a more competitive work force that will help existing companies grow and attract new business to the area, then we must restart efforts to reduce the wage and business taxes in Philadelphia.”
He spent much of his speech extolling the virtues of the Philadelphia business community, outlining specific projects such as refining oil at the Sunoco site in Philadelphia, producing plastics at the Marcus Hook refinery and Delta Airlines producing jet fuel at the former ConocoPhillips refinery in Trainer.
“Right before our eyes, our region is transforming into a modern, dynamic economy. From the revitalization of our refineries to growth in sectors such as IT, health care and advanced manufacturing, creative and adaptive business solutions are remaking the region,” Fitzpatrick said.
He said the chamber is working on federal, state and local levels to promote business growth and collaborating with the Allegheny County chamber on shared Pennsylvania issues.
In Washington, Fitzpatrick said the chamber is actively advocating for research and development funding, expanding the R&D tax credit and attracting and retaining top-level immigrant talent, issues that are important to the region’s education and medical sectors.
He discussed R&D efforts at the University City Science Center and in Princeton, N.J., and noted that they are not isolated to life sciences but apply to chemical and electrical engineering as well as advanced manufacturing techniques.
In Harrisburg, he said the chamber is working to pass “meaningful pension reform and adequate funding for our transportation infrastructure.” He also took time to point out that the chamber stands prepared to assist new Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite with education efforts.
“Recognizing that our region depends upon high-quality schools that prepare every student for success in the workplace or college, the chamber has made a significant commitment over the last several years to the education and employment prospects of our youth and will continue to do so,” Fitzpatrick said.