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World Business Chicago CEO will join Clayco

World Business Chicago’s outgoing CEO, Michael Fassnacht, has taken on a new role as Chicago region president and chief growth officer of real estate development and construction giant Clayco.

It established its headquarters in St. Petersburg more than a decade ago. Clayco, which carries it from St. Louis to Chicago, has a hand in a number of major projects, from construction of the new Rivian EV truck factory in Georgia to the Obama Presidential Center to a slow takeoff. O’Hare’s expansion projects in Chicago.

“The great thing is that I can continue to focus on promoting Chicagoland and Chicago, but also have an impact on the organization across the country,” Fassnacht told the Tribune.

Fassnacht, a former advertising executive, explains his decision to get down He’s at World Business Chicago in December after nearly four years as the city’s top corporate marketer. In addition to being head of the city’s public-private economic development arm, Fassnacht also served as Chicago’s chief marketing officer.

In his new dual role, Fassnacht will oversee Chicago operations while expanding companywide marketing efforts. Clayco has revenue of $5.2 billion in 2022, and Fassnacht said that figure will approach $7 billion last year.

“Michael brings an unmatched passion for business growth, an understanding of the economic ecosystem in Chicagoland, as well as a strategic and creative mindset that will be extremely beneficial to our customers and our Clayco team,” said Bob Clark, Clayco founder and executive chairman. he said in a news release.

Fassnacht’s move follows a political pipeline to Chicago’s top city officials at Clayco. Lori Healey resigned as chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in 2019 to become Chicago regional president at Clayco. A year later, she left to oversee the development of the Obama Presidential Center rising in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side.

In 2019, Clayco also hired David Reifman, the city’s former planning and development commissioner during the Emanuel administration, as senior vice president of strategic development at CRG, the company’s development and real estate investment arm. Reifman, who took over as Chicago regional president following Healey’s departure, left Clayco in January to start a real estate practice at Chicago law firm Croke Fairchild Duarte & Beres.

Fassnacht, a German immigrant who moved to Chicago in 2006 to work in advertising, became president of advertising agency FCB Chicago in 2014. He left FCB Chicago in January 2020 and three months later became the city’s first chief marketing officer under then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot. .

When Andrea Zopp stepped down as CEO of World Business Chicago at the end of 2020, Fassnacht added a dual role as interim CEO of the economic development agency. In May 2021, after a national search, Fassnacht was named president and CEO of World Business Chicago.

Fassnacht plans to leave World Business Chicago and start his new job at Clayco this month. He will remain on the board of World Business Chicago and will help find his replacement. The organization had previously stated that it expected to name Fassnacht’s successor in February.

In January, Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, resigned as vice president of World Business Chicago. He was replaced by Charles E. Smith, CEO of CS Insurance Strategies.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

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