Boston, MA – James Rooney was named the new CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and will step down this Summer as head of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA).
The MCCA had yet to name a replacement for the respected and well-liked Rooney. He will join the Chamber on July 1 after 14 years as executive director of the MCCA, which oversees both the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) and the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. The agency will work out a transition plan over the next 90 days.
“Leadership changes are difficult, and the uncertainties around them can be distracting,” said MCCA Chairman Michelle Shell. “But great organizations rally during those times to stay the course.”
Rooney set the MCCA on an exciting path in recent years. He will depart with the BCEC about to launch an extensive renovation and expansion that would increase the available exhibit space to 850,000 square feet and also add on meeting and ballroom space. The center currently has 560,000 sf of prime space and is ranked 24th on the Trade Show Executive World’s Top Convention Centers (WTCC) rankings.
The state’s funding plan for the expansion is being reviewed by the new governor amid suggestions from political leaders that some of the anticipated bond revenues be diverted to the Boston mass transit system. Rooney has predicted that the ongoing review would not delay the expansion.
“We have built not just a spectacular facility, but a culture of excellence that is known throughout the world,” Rooney said. “We have welcomed millions of people from around the globe and from every neighborhood. Our work together is something I will always be proud of.”
The BCEC expansion is a key component of a long-term strategy to elevate Boston to one of the top five convention and trade show cities in the U.S.
The MCCA has projected that events in 2015 will bring 900,000 attendees to Boston, generating 615,000 hotel room nights. The BCEC alone is expected to account for 431,000 room nights and break its 2010 record of 403,000 room nights.