Michael Clayton, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau that serves all of Southeast Texas, announced his retirement today to members of the BBB Board of Directors, effective Dec. 31, 2011. The Executive Committee reluctantly accepted, but unanimously supported the announcement.

Clayton, who has been the chief executive with the regional BBB office since 1996, voiced his appreciation to the Board for their excellent leadership, continuing support, trust, and willingness to be an innovator in marketplace self-regulation that greatly impacts tens of thousands of consumers and businesses. Following retirement, he expressed his desire and passion to enhance his professional speaking opportunities, conduct corporate training, serve as a business consultant and coach, and to continue writing.

Barry Bryant, Chairman of the BBB Board said, “We are sadden to learn of Michael’s intentions to leave the BBB the end of this year, but we support him in his decision and desire the very best for him. He is a gifted communicator and we know he will greatly impact the lives of all he has opportunity to touch.”

During the nearly 15 years Clayton has served as BBB President/CEO the regional office has grown from 700 Accredited Businesses to nearly 2,000, and has the highest market share of any BBB office in North America. Services to the public have increased from 65,000 to almost one million annually. Yearly revenues to the non-profit organization have tripled. At the same time, the southeast Texas BBB has been recognized and honored many times by its international peers for outstanding growth, innovation, and special projects.

Under Clayton’s leadership, the BBB began in 1997 the regional Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust that recognizes outstanding for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations judged for their high standards of trust, integrity, and customer/employee excellence. Also, the BBB began the annual Senior Celebration & Consumer Expo that draws an attendance of 2,500 to the Beaumont Civic Center each fall.

The BBB executive has spoken to more than 5,000 audiences across the United States and on three continents over the last 42 years. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, and a Certified Seminar Leader. Recently he became an Amazon.com best-selling author, along with Brian Tracy and others, with the book Counter Attack: Business Strategies for Explosive Growth in the New Economy. He is the only recipient of the “Award for Distinction for Special Communications” from the International Assemblies of Better Business Bureaus.

Clayton serves various organizations across the region. He is a Director on the Board at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and Legacy Christian Academy. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Beaumont and the YMBL. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Beaumont Public School Foundation and the Lamar Institute of Technology Business Management Department.

Nationally, Clayton currently is one of eleven BBB President/CEOs from across North America who serve on the BBB Operations Committee, and one of six who serves on the Audit & Compliance Sub-Committee providing oversight to 125 BBB regional offices in Canada and the United States. He has previously served two terms as the President of the Southwest Region of BBBs, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New Mexico.

“I absolutely love my job, the wonderful BBB staff and Directors, the BBB mission, and the fantastic people of southeast Texas, but now is time to make plans to write a new chapter in my life,” Clayton said.

The retiring BBB executive has been married for 36 years to Dee Clayton and they have three grown children – Chris, Kim, and Kendal. They also have five grandchildren. Clayton and his wife will relocate the first of next year to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where their children and their families reside.