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Layoffs hit World Business Chicago

The economic development group cuts staff to deal with revenue losses from COVID-19.

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World Business Chicago President and CEO Andrea Zopp said the group has laid off five people and eliminated four open positions, leaving it with a staff of 30. “
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World Business Chicago, the public-private agency that promotes regional job growth, is facing the same funding pressures as other organizations and businesses and has laid off some staff, its president and CEO said Friday.

Andrea Zopp said the group has laid off five people and eliminated four open positions, leaving it with a staff of 30. “We are expecting revenue impacts related to COVID-19 and we felt it was important to better align our expenses with those expectations,” she said.

Zopp said she and other top staff at WBC have taken pay cuts she declined to specify. The laid-off staffers received severance, she said.

The pandemic-related shutdowns have cut off corporate travel and forced companies to defer decisions about hiring or expanding. Consequently, Zopp said, her group has less work to do in those areas.

“We’re still talking to a number of companies and organizations interested in coming to or expanding in Chicago,” Zopp said. “The pace of decision-making has slowed.”

She said recent outbreaks of violence have not deterred outside investment. In addition, the city “has a very positive story to tell” about its handling of COVID-19, Zopp said.