Statement from Juan A. Ochoa, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
In my tenure at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), I am pleased to have achieved what I set out to do when I became CEO of the MPEA. In the face of the deepest economic recession in decades, a changing convention industry, and greater competition, we have made great progress to position McCormick Place to compete, and have seen Navy Pier grow steadily as a major tourist destination. We have continued to work closely with our customers to address their concerns, streamlined our operations, and developed and championed reforms that are critical to position McCormick Place to remain the nation’s premier convention center.
I am announcing today that I have resigned as CEO of MPEA, and I will move forward to work on what I believe is the central issue our country will face this century – immigration reform, an issue of great personal importance to me. Immigration reform involves human rights, our economy, and our national character. This is an issue that demands the public and private sector work together to implement this much needed change. My work on this issue will command my undivided attention and my combined experience as a community organizer as well as a civic, business and government leader, has prepared me well for this next challenge.
It has been an honor for me to serve the people of Illinois and my privilege to work with so many dedicated, hard-working professional on the MPEA staff, Chicago’s trade show workers, and the MPEA Board. I want to extend a special thank you to Chairman John Gates, for his tireless efforts on behalf of the Authority and to Governor Quinn, Mayor Daley and the Illinois State Legislature for making reforms at the MPEA a top priority to align Chicago’s convention business with our competitors.
Finally, as I began my role as CEO more than three years ago, and conducted an assessment of the MPEA, I stated publicly that the Authority was facing a pre-crisis in the convention industry. I would like to thank the media for keeping public attention on the crisis that the Authority further endured. I always saw those stories as critical to the public pressure that was long needed to make the changes necessary for the public good.