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Emanuel Enlists CEOs to Build Business

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's asking 50 of the city's biggest names in Chicago business to promote the city and help attract new companies and jobs. (Published Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011)

    Chicago's new mayor is once again pulling from the business world to staff city projects.

    Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced the reconstruction of World Business Chicago, an economic development organization, with a buffed-up board starring himself as chair.

    Emanuel enlisted nearly 50 CEOs to join the new board, including pal Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P., as vice chairman.

    The move puts the revived World Business Chicago under the mayor's office to help attract new business and create jobs, a consistent theme of Emanuel's since he was inaugurated.

    "The responsibility is to create a focused agenda," Emanuel said Wednesday from City Hall's rooftop. His immediate focus is on two dozen companies that are considering expansion in Chicago, he said.

    World Business Chicago's 15 existing board members will serve on the new board. New names run the business name gamut, from Emanuel campaign contributor CME Group to Allscripts, which recently promised Chicago 300 new jobs.

    Other recognizable names: Former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., who helped with Emanuel's transition team, and Gregory Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, who announced 400 new jobs in Chicago last month.

    "I look forward to working with the mayor and other World Business Chicago leaders to bolster growth in the private sector," Sacks said in a statement provided by the mayor's office.

    Emanuel's plan is to put globe-trotting CEOs to work for the city.

    "When I know a CEO or top management from a company ... is traveling to India to China, we may be targeting a company [there].  Give us a half an hour of your time when you're in New Dehli.  Give us an hour of your time when you're in England.  Give me some time when you're in X state.  Can you go visit this company that we're trying to talk to right now? Tell them what we have right here in Chicago," he said. 

    Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle applauded the mayor's reinvigorated initiative, saying she hopes and expects the steps will pay dividends.

    "I remain committed to the belief that to be competitive globally we need to have regional collaboration; leveraging key partnerships throughout the surrounding areas to spur sustainable and targeted economic development," she said in a statement released late Wednesday afternoon.