CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Juan Ochoa as CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) effective today. He will replace Leticia Peralta Davis.
MPEA owns and manages the McCormick Place complex and seeks to promote and operate conventions, fairs and expositions in the Chicago area, in an effort to strengthen the local economy. Historic Navy Pier is also owned and managed by MPEA and the Authority is charged with carrying out the recreational, commercial and cultural redevelopment and operation of Navy Pier, which has become Chicago's most popular visitor attraction.
“I’m very excited to have Juan join the Pier Authority,” said Governor Blagojevich. “His experience and success with growing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be valuable as we work to make Chicago the convention destination it should be. I want to thank Leticia for her hard work and particularly for helping shepherd through McCormick Place’s major expansion efforts and overseeing critical labor negotiations.”
Ochoa brings years of business and community experience to the position. For the past 10 years, he has served as President and CEO of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). Under Ochoa’s leadership, IHCC has become one of the most respected and nationally recognized Hispanic business organizations in the country, growing from 52 members and a $45,000 budget to over 1,200 members and a $1.7 million budget. Ochoa was instrumental in garnering the business community’s support for the historic $900 million expansion project at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“I’m grateful that the Governor has confidence in my ability to lead an organization that is so critical to the economic vitality of our state. This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to serving,” said Juan Ochoa.
“The Board of MPEA enthusiastically welcomes Juan Ochoa. His experience and commitment will serve MPEA well as it continues the advances that are vital to Illinois and the region,” said MPEA Chairman Theodore R. Tetzlaff.
Ochoa will replace Leticia Peralta Davis, who became the first woman to head the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority when the Governor appointed her in March 2003. Before coming to state government, Peralta-Davis was founder and president of the financial advisory firm Davis Financial Inc. and former finance chair of the Chicago Housing Authority's board of commissioners.