MPEA Announces Lori Healey Resigns as CEO

Healey served the Authority since 2015; CFO Larita Clark to assume acting CEO duties upon Healey’s departure in October as a search is underway

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) today announced that Lori T. Healey will conclude her service at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) on October 18, 2019. Healey has served as CEO of MPEA since April 2015.

In her role as CEO, Healey has overseen the transformation of McCormick Place as well as a $310,808,492 operating budget for the MPEA portfolio consisting of McCormick Place, the Wintrust Arena, Marriott Marquis Chicago, and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

“Under Lori Healey’s leadership at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), MPEA has helped fuel record growth in tourism for Chicago and supported thousands of jobs for our communities,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Lori has demonstrated her dedication to Chicago in several capacities, including serving as a tireless advocate for Chicago’s thriving tourism and convention scene, and devoting a large part of her career as a committed public servant in our city government. We wish her the best in the next phase of her career, and we’re confident she will continue to champion Chicago’s growth and success.”

“The McCormick Place campus serves as a cornerstone of Chicago’s appeal to visitors from around the world,” said Governor Pritzker. “During her term as CEO, Lori paired the expansion of that global reach with important investments in good-paying jobs for our residents that will stand the test of time. Illinois is proud to be home to the continent’s finest convention center – a title earned in no small part through Lori’s efforts these past four years.”

“On behalf of the MPEA Board of Directors, I extend our thanks to Lori for her service to MPEA, the City of Chicago, and the state of Illinois,” said Brett Hart, Chair, MPEA Board of Directors. “With her driven commitment to results, the McCormick Square campus became an economic engine, delivering $151 million in state and local taxes and creating more than 17,450 jobs statewide.”

As the City of Chicago works with the MPEA board and Illinois Governor’s office to conduct a search for a new CEO, MPEA’s CFO Larita Clark will assume the role of acting CEO.

“I have been extremely privileged to serve the MPEA board,” said Healey. “Leaving the campus and the team will be bittersweet but I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish and deliver for our customers, and consequently for the taxpayers of the city and state.”

Under Healey’s tenure, the McCormick Square campus maintained its position as North America’s largest convention center, key accomplishments included:

  • Record financial and event performance
    • Increased visitor growth from 2.4 million in 2015 to just under 3 million in 2018, the highest level since 2004.
    • Achieved operational self-sufficiency, including eliminating the incentive fund provided by state taxes.
    • Contributed more than $50 million to the Authority’s capital reserve fund, for investments back into campus operations, the largest contributions since before the recession.
    • Diversified campus events with expanded corporate, concert, and sports business, including signing long-term leases with the Chicago Sky and DePaul Blue Demons
  • Enhanced and expanded the McCormick Square campus.
    • Completed construction of the Wintrust Arena and Marriott Marquis Chicago, on-time and on-budget.
    • Built the Prairie District Pocket Park.
    • Restored and opened the ABC building providing increased meeting and event space.
    • Enhanced security with addition of the position of Chief Security Officer, investments in new technology, and establishment of new policies and procedures.
    • Renovated the Hyatt at McCormick Place with new restaurants, upgraded meeting spaces and rooms.
  • Increased economic opportunities for women and minority owned businesses
    • Increased spending with MBE and WBE firms.
      • Nearly $178 million was spent with MBE and WBE firms during the construction of the Wintrust Arena and Marriott Marquis Chicago, with 54 percent MBE and 12 percent WBE spend for professional services and 29 percent MBE and 9 percent WBE spend for the actual construction and supplies.
    • Actively recruited businesses from surrounding neighborhood as suppliers, with 60 percent of the contracts for products and services with Chicago-based companies.
  • Improved and enhanced partnerships and business opportunities with surrounding neighborhoods
    • Fostered partnerships with community and labor organizations, including HIRE 360, Chinese American Service League, Chicago Black Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hispanic Chamber, and LGBT Chamber of Commerce for job training and business development.
    • Invested approximately $2 million in public art, including partnering Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and neighborhood committee representing Bronzeville, Chinatown, and the South Loop, to create a public art corridor from the CTA Cermak Green Line Station though the McCormick Place campus to MLK Drive. Additionally, for the first time, MPEA is a site for Chicago Architecture Biennial and is partnering with Chicago Sculptural Exchange to highlight Chicago-based artists on the campus.
  • Increased environmental and sustainability initiatives
    • Invested $36 million to retrofit the lights in McCormick Place and the parking lots with energy efficient LEDs.
    • Enhanced food and beverage sustainability through local purchasing programs, on-campus gardens. Through its latest investment in composting, the Authority has achieved nearly 100 percent pre-consumer waste diversion, diverting more than 25 tons of food waste from landfills in its first six months of operation.

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