June 20, 2024


Supportive Business Potential

World Business Chicago names new CEO

World Business Chicago names new CEO

We break down complex business news to help you understand how money moves in Chicago and how it affects you.

World Business Chicago, the city’s nonprofit economic development agency, has named Philip Clement as its president and CEO to help champion Chicago as a destination for businesses.

Clement, 58, previously served as global chief marketing officer at Johnson Controls, maker of building equipment and technology. Johnson Controls, based in Milwaukee, has 105,000 employees in over 120 countries and annual revenue of about $26 billion.

Prior to Johnson Controls, Clement spent 12 years in a similar role at insurance firm Aon. He has also launched tech companies and his own management consultancy.

“With his extensive experience and deep understanding of both local and global economic landscapes, Philip brings a unique perspective that will undoubtedly propel World Business Chicago forward,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a news release.

The announcement comes as Chicago grapples with economic recovery after the pandemic. Since 2022, several high-profile companies have left or shifted operations from the Chicago area, including hedge fund Citadel, Boeing and Caterpillar.

In 2023, the Chicago region counted 117 business expansions and 46 relocations and entries to the area, compared to 183 such moves in 2022, according to a World Business Chicago report.

Clement will lead the agency as it works to “drive growth, attract investment, and promote Chicago as a global business destination,” Charles Smith, vice chair of World Business Chicago, said in a statement.

The public-private agency is funded by philanthropies, businesses and the city, which accounts for about 20% of World Business Chicago’s annual budget of roughly $10 million.

Clement succeeds Michael Fassnacht, who resigned as CEO of World Business Chicago in December.

Fassnacht, a veteran advertising executive and former head of ad agency FCB Chicago, took over WBC in 2020 under former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, after serving as the city’s chief marketing officer. During his time as CEO, he doubled WBC’s workforce to 50 and increased corporate support to supplement the agency’s government funding.

In February, Fassnacht joined real estate firm Clayco as chief growth officer and president of the Chicagoland region.

Clement has longstanding ties to Chicago and is a strong environmental advocate. He came out of early retirement to join Johnson Controls in 2020 because of the company’s smart-building technology aimed at reducing emissions.

“Buildings are 40% of the world’s carbon footprint, and we’re introducing technology right now that can reduce that by 50% to 60%,” he told the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

Clement sits on the board of the Harris School of Public Policy and is active on the boards of the Midwest Sustainability Network, The Goodman Theatre and the Chicago International Film Festival.

He is an alumnus of University of Chicago’s Harris School and the Booth School of Business, as well as the University of Southern California, where he studied anthropology, documentary filmmaking and journalism as an undergraduate.

“I am excited to work collaboratively with Mayor Johnson, vice-chair Charles Smith, the board of directors and the entire team to build on the region’s strengths and create new and equitable opportunities for businesses and residents alike,” Clement said in a statement.