General manager named for struggling Columbia Club

The Columbia Club has hired Maarten van Wijk as general manager and chief operating officer to replace Edward Albany. Albany stepped down early this year after the not-for-profit hired a St. Louis consulting firm to help it reverse declining membership and other problems.

Van wijk was general manager of the Four-Star Mobile award Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa., and has held management positions at the Mayflower Hotel and French Embassy, both in Washington, D.C.

He has his work cut out for him. The club, started in 1889 by supporters of President Benjamin Harrison and long associated with Republicans, is struggling to compete as affluent business people move to the suburbs.

Membership shot up after the Democrat-leaning Indianapolis Athletic Club closed in 2004, but has been in decline since. It now stands near 2,100.

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