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Interim Chicago MPEA Board Named; A ‘Slap in the Face’ to the Exposition Industry


Chicago, IL – The interim board of directors for Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority (MPEA) was announced late Friday by Mayor Richard Daley and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The fact that no representatives of the trade show industry or the McCormick Place unions were named to the panel was seen as “a slap in the face” to customers of the nation’s largest exposition center.

The seven-member MPEA Interim Board replaces the 13-member MPEA board and will serve until a permanent seven-member board is appointed by the Illinois General Assembly. The panel’s primary task will be to submit a report to the legislature this Spring identifying potential changes in the operations at McCormick Place that will lower the cost of staging trade shows at the center.

“I look forward to working with the Interim Board to continue identifying and implementing needed changes at McCormick Place, and in the convention industry as a whole in Chicago,” said MPEA CEO Juan Ochoa. ”I look forward to supporting the work of the board as it studies the role of all stakeholders and recommends what needs to be done to keep Chicago the pre-eminent destination for conventions and trade shows.”

The new board is led by John Gates, who was the chairman of the previous board. Gates is chairman and CEO of PortaeCo, a private investment company.

The three members appointed by Daley are:

André Rice: President of Muller & Monroe Asset Management and a Daley appointee to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Bruce Rauner: Chairman of the private-equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner. He is also chairman of the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Education Committee of the Civic Committee.

Shelia O’Grady: President of the Illinois Restaurant Association and former chief of staff for Daley.

Quinn’s appointees are:

Devon Bruce: Attorney at Power, Rogers and Smith P.C.

Anita Cummings: Founder of the management-consulting firm A.M. Consulting and  executive director of the United Business Association of Midway.

Peter O’Brien: A member of the MPEA board since 2003 and vice president and COO of MADO Management LP. He is a member of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

Reach Juan Ochoa at (312) 791-7500 or