The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) Board of Directors appointed its new chief executive officer of the agency charged with sustaining Chicago’s leadership in the convention and tradeshow industry on April 15. MPEA owns McCormick Place, the largest exhibition and meeting facility in North America.
Lori Healey comes to MPEA from the Chicago-based investment and urban economic development firm Tur Partners LLC, where she served as CEO. She succeeds Jim Reilly, who announced previously that he would be stepping down in 2015.
A proven and highly respected leader, Healey brings a breadth of experience in city planning and development in both public and private sectors. The agency is set to embark on two major construction projects – a 10,000-seat event center and 1,206-room Marriott Marquis, both scheduled for completion in 2017. The development projects are part of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Elevate Chicago initiative designed to advance Chicago’s tourism and convention sector while also revitalizing city neighborhoods, spurring economic growth and creating jobs.
“Lori Healey’s experience from the public and private sectors will be a tremendous asset in taking Chicago’s visitor and convention industry to the next level,” commented Mayor Emanuel. “So I am excited that she is coming on board to oversee the critical projects that the MPEA is undertaking to help us tap the full potential of Chicago’s visitor and convention industry. Lori will play a vital role in helping us grow tourism to 55 million visitors annually, create new jobs and bring economic growth to every part of the City of Chicago.”
Healey’s experience includes organizing the 2012 NATO Summit, held at McCormick Place, as well as managing Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. She also has worked for the real estate development firm, the John Buck Company, and served both as chief of staff and planning and development commissioner for former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Lori‘s caliber of experience to lead the MPEA team during these exciting times, with construction of the event center and the headquarters hotel set to begin shortly,” said Jack Greenberg, chairman, MPEA. “We are confident that Lori is the right person for the job and that she will excel in this important leadership position.”
“I want to thank the MPEA Board for the opportunity to lead the Authority at this exciting time,” said Healey. “I look forward to building on the foundation that Jim Reilly and the MPEA team have successfully put in place. I am excited to join the MPEA and its partners to focus on strategies that will further the momentum and ensure that Chicago’s convention and tourism industry remains an industry leader.”
Greenberg also thanked Jim Reilly for the leadership he has provided to the Authority with two separate terms as its chief executive officer, one in the mid-1990s and most recently, since 2012 as well as his 18 months of service as the MPEA Trustee.
“I want to thank Jim Reilly for his unwavering commitment to Chicago’s convention and tradeshow industry and for his valuable years of leadership, insight and determination to get the job done,” Greenberg remarked. “Jim has accomplished so much in his service as the Authority’s top executive. He has been an exemplary public servant who has demonstrated time and again that he knows how to get things done.”
Greenberg cited as examples Reilly’s leadership during implementation of historic workplace reforms, service improvements that have enhanced the experience for convention and tradeshow exhibitors and visitors and winning legislative approval for restructuring MPEA’s capital debt.