World Business Chicago Appoints Charles E. Smith as Vice Chair

by savoystaff

World Business Chicago (WBC) announces the appointment of Charles E. Smith as its new Vice Chair, succeeding Mellody Hobson, who served with distinction since 2019. As the Chief Executive Officer of CS Insurance Strategies, a Marsh and McLennan Company specializing in comprehensive commercial insurance brokerage services, Smith brings a formidable business background to this role.

Smith currently serves as the Executive Committee Chairman for the Business Leadership Council, holds positions on the boards of the Shedd Aquarium and Executives Club of Chicago, and contributes to the MATTER Chicago Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Additionally, he is a member of the President’s Council at the Museum of Science and Industry and holds membership in the Economic Club of Chicago.

This appointment underscores Mayor Brandon Johnson’s resolute commitment to growing and strengthening Chicago’s economy. Smith is exceptionally well-positioned to not only sustain but amplify cooperation between the mayor, World Business Chicago, the broader business community, and the city’s vibrant entrepreneurial, startup and small business ecosystem – including diverse minority-owned businesses.

Mayor Johnson, who serves as chair of WBC, expressed his support for this appointment, stating, “Charles Smith is an outstanding business leader. His dedication to promoting equitable business growth makes him an ideal choice to play such a pivotal role. I look forward to collaborating closely with Charles, the WBC Board, and the broader business community as we continue to actively promote the city as a premier global destination for investment.”

“I thank Mayor Johnson for his confidence and look forward to regularly leading efforts to convene the city and region’s business community to foster an even stronger and more diverse economic ecosystem,” said Charles E. Smith. “Chicago is world renowned as a leading global business hub, and I look forward to partnering with our corporate and civic communities to ensure that the continued growth and prosperity extends to all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.”

Outgoing Vice Chair Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, extended her congratulations. “Serving as Vice Chair of World Business Chicago has been an honor, and I am confident that Charles Smith will infuse fresh insights and vitality into this crucial role,” Hobson said. “His deep commitment to our beloved city, coupled with his impressive professional background, positions him as an exceptional choice to lead us into the future. I look forward to continuing to serve with Charles on the World Business Chicago Board.”

“I have known Charles for a long time, and he is a great choice for the role,” said Michael Sacks, past WBC Vice Chair and Chairman and CEO of GCM Grosvenor. “Charles is smart and pragmatic. Importantly for the business community, he has the mayor’s ear and is a trusted advisor. I look forward to supporting Charles and WBC going forward.”

Michael Fassnacht, outgoing president and chief executive officer of World Business Chicago expressed his support for the selection, “I thank Mayor Johnson for choosing Charles as Vice Chair, and I look forward to continuing to serve with him on the World Business Chicago Board,” he said. “I’m confident that under Charles’ leadership, the organization’s mission to drive equitable economic growth, job creation, and support for business throughout the greater Chicagoland region will continue to flourish.”

This appointment takes effect immediately and will be formally ratified by the WBC Board at its Q1 Board of Directors meeting.

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