Preckwinkle Announces Council of Economic Advisors

Business and civic leaders will aid Cook County in promoting regional economic development strategies that foster growth and cooperation

Chicago-(ENEWSPF)- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced the creation of a Council of Economic Advisors, a group of more than 20 distinguished business and civic leaders from across the region who will advise Cook County on how to promote long-term economic growth within Cook County as well as the larger economic region. The Council will be co-chaired by John W. Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments and William A. Osborn, retired Chairman of the Northern Trust Corporation. 

“Metropolitan Chicago’s $500 billion gross regional product makes our economy the 20th largest in the world, and Cook County contains more than half of this region’s population, income and jobs,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, “Regional economic growth cannot be a zero-sum game if the region is going to compete against London, Beijing or even New York.  With half the region’s economy in Cook County, the County should play a leading role in promoting a collaborative and strategic approach to economic growth.” 

At a news conference Thursday, President Preckwinkle said that the council’s insight and advice on economic issues facing the region will help guide her efforts to align County government’s activities, programs and partnerships to support long-term economic growth.  Preckwinkle was joined by co-Chairman John Rogers, who praised Preckwinkle’s commitment to looking beyond geographic boundaries and adopting a strategic, regional focus to economic development. 

“President Preckwinkle has done an exceptional job of managing and focusing the work of Cook County Government, and I am delighted she is focusing her attention on ways to grow jobs and the economy,” Rogers said.  “I am grateful for an opportunity to assist her as she addresses the problems of a lagging economy and the loss of good paying jobs.” 

Preckwinkle and Rogers referenced three recent reports, Restoring Chicago’s Momentum: A Regional Agenda for Economic Growth, prepared by Metropolis Strategies, A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, prepared by World Business Chicago, and The Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area OECD Territorial Review, prepared under the leadership of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, as three important starting points for the work of the Council to form a definitive plan of action for the region. All three reports identified the serious erosion of the region’s economy and offered numerous ideas for reversing the troubling trends by focusing on the region’s innate strengths and enhanced collaboration.

“Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a stronger economy that is spurred by regional innovation,” President Preckwinkle said. 

Preckwinkle also noted that several members of the Council of Economic Advisors are also members of World Business Chicago, including Vice-Chairman Michael Sacks, which will ensure that the organizations can coordinate their efforts to work hand-in-hand. 

“The staff and board of World Business Chicago look forward to working with President Preckwinkle’s Council of Economic Advisors,” said Michael Sacks, CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P.  “This important collaboration will help drive regional economic development and create jobs throughout the region”

The President’s Advisory Council will hold its first meeting on July 27th, 2012. Their first order of business will be to analyze Cook County’s economic trends, assets and challenges in the context of the region and the nation’s changing economy. President Preckwinkle plans to work with the Council to develop strategies for aligning County Government functions with economic growth goals, and to foster regional collaboration around a mutually beneficial economic growth agenda.

The full list of Council members is:


  • Bill Osborn: Chairman of the Board, Northwestern University; CEO, Northern Trust (Retired)
  • John Rogers: Chairman, CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments


  • Michael Sacks: CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P.
  • Paula Allen-Meares: Chancellor, UIC
  • Frank Clark: Chairman & CEO, ComEd (Retired)
  • Sue Ling Gin: Chairman & CEO, Flying Food Group; President and Founder, New Management Ltd.
  • Roberto Herencia: President and CEO, BXM Holdings
  • Julie Howard: CEO, Navigant Consulting
  • Stacy Janiak: Managing Partner (Chicago Office), Deloitte
  • Aylwin Lewis: President & CEO, Potbelly Sandwich Works
  • Michael Moskow: Vice Chairman and Senior Fellow on the Global Economy; Chicago Council on Global Affairs; President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Retired)
  • Sheila O’Grady: Consultant, Spencer Stuart; Former President, Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Richard Price: Chairman & CEO, Mesirow Financial
  • Jorge Ramirez: President, Chicago Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)
  • Sam Scott: Chairman, President & CEO, Corn Products International (Retired)
  • Alejandro Silva: Chairman & CEO, Evans Food Group
  • James Skogsbergh: President & CEO, Advocate Health Care
  • Scott Swanson:  President, Charter One and RBS Citizens, Illinois and Michigan
  • Michael Tang: Vice-Chairman, Tang Industries; CEO, National Material
  • Kevin Willer: President & CEO, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center
  • David Yeager: Chairman & CEO, Hub Group