By Kathy Bergen | Juan Ochoa, chief executive of the agency that runs McCormick Place,
Wednesday announced his resignation, which was widely anticipated. He
said in a statement he intends to work on immigration reform.
Ochoa’s exit as CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority,
or McPier, comes as the General Assembly is preparing to restructure
operations at McCormick Place later this week.
The legislature’s chief adviser on the McCormick Place overhaul is
recommending installation of a state-appointed trustee for an 18-month
transition period. If the General Assembly goes along, this would have
meant Ochoa’s exit.
In a statement, Ochoa said he achieved what he set out to do when he was appointed three years ago by now-ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“We have continued to work closely with our customers to address their concerns, streamlined our operations, and developed and championed reforms that are critical to position McCormick Place to remain the nation’s premier convention center,” he said in a prepared statement.
Within the past year, McPier has taken steps to cut its spending, including a 20 percent reduction in the size of its full-time work force. As well, it restructured its pool of show-floor electricians, aiming to whittle the pool to the best workers. Its interim board also produced a set of legislative recommendations, which are among those being considered in Springfield.
Prior to his appointment in 2007, Ochoa was president and chief executive of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for 10 years. He also had advised and raised funds for Blagojevich.