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World Business Chicago to Seek New Leadership - Rita Athas Stepping Down as President in 2013

December 13, 2012

CHICAGO - World Business Chicago President Rita Athas today announced her resignation as President of the organization, effective early 2013. A search committee appointed by World Business Chicago Vice Chairman Michael Sacks will seek a replacement.

 “I am focused on bringing jobs and attracting business to Chicago, and World Business Chicago is critical to that effort,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Rita has been key to the success of World Business Chicago and I am thankful for her work there and look forward to working with the new leadership of World Business Chicago to continue these efforts.”

“Rita’s counsel and guidance has been invaluable to me,” said Sacks. We’re not going to let her go too far and I’ve asked that Rita remain as President until a successor is found and that she join our board and continue to work and consult with us on a project basis.”

“I have valued my tenure at World Business Chicago and the opportunity to represent Chicago, a first rate global city,” Athas said. “It has been a privilege and honor to work with both former Mayor Richard M. Daley and current Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But after almost 15 years of service to the city it is time for another chapter, one that involves a combination of different challenges and things I would like to do but haven’t had the time.”

World Business Chicago will undertake a national search as it looks for a new leader. The timing of the search process is unknown, but it will begin in the new year.

“This is a great opportunity for World Business Chicago to bring on another outstanding economic development professional to lead our organization and work closely with the Mayor and his economic development team,” Sacks said. “We will look around the country for someone who is ready for this exciting challenge and prepared to carry on the great work that Rita has done.”

During Athas’ tenure WBC has consistently been ranked as one of the top economic development organizations in the country and always placed as one of the top three cities for number of new businesses. She oversaw the recruitment of Miller Coors, Ventas, Veolia Environmental, United, Willis, and Coyote Logistics to Chicago to name just a few. In 2011 alone, under Rita’s leadership, World Business Chicago was involved with the creation or retention of about 15,000 jobs, and worked with 106 prospective new companies.


World Business Chicago leads Chicago’s business retention, attraction and expansion efforts and raises the city’s position as a premier global business destination. Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, WBC fosters private sector growth through the advancement of a business-friendly environment that attracts world class talent. Twitter: @WorldBizChicago; Facebook: