The executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission will retire next year, putting the powerful metro planning agency into a search for a new chief for the first time in nearly a decade.

Doug Hooker informed the ARC board and staff of his retirement on April 14 with a nearly one-year notice. According to a letter obtained by the Reporter, his retirement will be effective March 31, 2022.

Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Hooker has led the ARC since 2011. He did not cite a reason for retiring. “This has not been an easy decision for me, but I think an appropriate one,” he said in the letter. 

“Despite the fact that this is my last year, I will be in full work mode,” he added. 

The letter indicates that no successor has been chosen, with Hooker saying he will work with them and the ARC “in whatever manner she or he feels is appropriate.”

ARC spokesperson Paul Donsky did not have immediate comment and said more information would be coming shortly.

The ARC is a regional planning agency for 10 metro Atlanta counties. At a recent appearance in Buckhead, Hooker discussed how the ARC is grappling with the major planning surprises and curveballs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.