News Column

Chicago Chamber of Commerce Begins Succession Planning

Oct. 19, 2012

Kathy Bergen and Melissa Harris

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, led for 20 years by outspoken business advocate Jerry Roper, has formed a committee to devise a management succession plan.

Roper, 72, who has been fighting prostate cancer, said his health is good and he has no plans to retire as president and CEO.

"I'm still having fun and this continues to be a great job," he said. "I think I'd retire if we ever got a casino in Chicago, which we've been working on since 1991."

He said he also looks forward to continued work on pension reform, small business development and tri-state economic cooperation.

Robert Wislow, chairman and CEO of U.S. Equities Realty, is chairman of the succession committee, which got started two weeks ago, Roper said. The staff began laying the groundwork for such a committee more than a year ago, he added.

Executive search firm SpencerStuart will provide guidance on a pro bono basis, Roper said. Charles Falcone, managing director of the firm's Chicago office, is a member of the chamber's board.

There is no active search for a new CEO, Roper said.

"If Jerry Roper wins the lottery and decides to go off to Italy to live with his beautiful wife, then they are prepared," Roper said, referring to the succession planning.

Source: (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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