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McPier CEO Lori Healey stepping down

Since 2015, the former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley had led the agency that operates McCormick Place.

McPier CEO Lori Healey arrives at Theater on the Lake in Chicago for the wedding of Tara Flocco and Patrick Richard Daley, son of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, on Sunday, Sept. 22.
McPier CEO Lori Healey arrives at Theater on the Lake in Chicago for the wedding of Tara Flocco and Patrick Richard Daley, son of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Colin Boyle/For the Sun-Times

Longtime Chicago political power player Lori Healey is resigning from her position as CEO of McPier, the agency that operates McCormick Place.

Healey’s resignation is effective Oct. 18, according to a spokeswoman for McPier, short for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.

Chief Financial Officer Larita Clark will take over as CEO on an interim basis while McPier looks for a permanent leader.

Healey had led McPier since 2015. She previously served as chief of staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, ran the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid committee and organized the NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago in 2012.

As McPier CEO, Healey managed an operating budget of nearly $311 million for McCormick Place, Wintrust Arena, the Marriott Marquis Chicago and the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

Her departure marks the latest turnover at the top of a major city business development group since Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office.

In June, Lightfoot tapped business leader Mellody Hobson to replace Michael Sacks at the helm of World Business Chicago, and earlier this month Lightfoot picked public relations executive Glenn Eden to take the reins from Desiree Rogers at Choose Chicago, the city tourism agency.

Healey and Lightfoot locked horns in Springfield during the spring legislative session, as Healey pushed for an expanded restaurant tax for central Chicago restaurants to help fund construction of a new McCormick Place building. Lightfoot’s office quickly came out against the proposal as bad for small business, and the legislation died.

In a statement provided by McPier, Lightfoot said Healey’s leadership “has helped fuel record growth in tourism for Chicago and supported thousands of jobs for our communities.

“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,” Lightfoot said. “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.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker credited Healey with making “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,” Pritzker said.

The McPier spokeswoman said Healey would announce her next position next week. Healey could not immediately be reached for comment.