Running a business can be a difficult job for a chief executive offer, particularly in these challenging times when companies are rebounding from an economic downturn, but a new organization catering to the needs of leaders at the top is offering them a respite.

The CEO Trust, a by-invitation organization of CEOs that started 2 1/2 years ago in New York City, is expanding to Connecticut. The new chapter's launch celebration is Thursday in Darien.

"The CEO Trust in New York has made a significant difference to our CEOs, and a number of our trustees who live or work in Connecticut advocated for a chapter there," said Norwalk resident Theresa Boyce, chairwoman of CEO Trust. "Our CEO trustees are enthusiastic about creating the same opportunity for Connecticut CEOs to benefit from the camaraderie and warmth of the CEO Trust."

Its goal is to provide members with an opportunity to socialize and share thoughts on ways to improve their companies, said Boyce, who spent much of her career at KPMG and Procter & Gamble as an accountant and brand manager.

"It's lonely at the top. To get together with other CEOs, this is a haven for them," Boyce said. "We screen our CEOs for membership for their values, generosity of spirit and authentic leadership."

The Connecticut chapter, which can be found online at ceotrust.org/chapter/ct, has six months of programs lined up.

"We've put together an excellent slate of events that we believe is topical and of great interest. Consistently providing relevant, high-quality programs is a key element of the CEO Trust," said New Milford resident John Lowry, chapter co-chairman and CEO of Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Inc. in East Brunswick, N.J.

The chapter, which will meet monthly, has formed partnerships with Wiggin and Dana LLP, AON Risk Services Inc. of Connecticut and Northern Trust Bank.

"They've been a great source of counsel, advice and support pre-launch," said Stamford resident Ron Nyman, chapter co-chairman and CEO of Medi-Claim Services Inc. in Trumbull.

Stamford resident Leigh Abrams, chairman of Drew Industries in White Plains, N.Y., is a member of the New York chapter.

"The meetings keep us up to date with current topics. You want to talk with people who understand your problems," said Abrams, who in 2009 retired as Drew's president and CEO after 30 years. He directed the recreational vehicle parts maker's growth into a business with 3,500 employees and $500 million in annual sales.

To attend the kick-off, contact Cathy Curley at ccurley@

ceotrust.org.