Amazon’s Chicago dream team – Consumer News

on Sep13

13 September 2017 | 12:32 am

In 2001, Chicago landed Boeing’s new headquarters, due in part to help from a group of businesspeople that included John Bryan Jr. and Lester Crown. Patrick Ryan Sr., who retired from insurance giant Aon in 2008 before founding another firm, led the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Since then, Chicago’s business landscape has changed. The former generation of civic leaders has largely retired, though it keeps active philanthropically. The new generation is generally more self made, more tech driven, more diffuse than the old guard.

Now there’s an opportunity for that new generation to capture something even bigger: Amazon’s second headquarters. The Seattle-based e-commerce colossus says the second location will create as many as 50,000 jobs paying an average annual compensation north of $100,000. Chicago checks a lot of what Amazon says are necessary boxes: Direct flights to Seattle, Washington, New York and San Francisco; public transportation; and space to build what could be an 8 million square-foot campus.

Now, who’s going to help Mayor Rahm Emanuel land this cash cow? The mayor’s office isn’t saying— not yet. Deputy Mayor Bob Rivkin is leading the city’s response to Amazon’s request for proposals, and Rivkin is coordinating with “city departments, sister agencies, private sector leaders, Chicago-area counties and the state of Illinois,” says Grant Klinzman, the mayor’s economic development press secretary, in an emailed response to a request for comment. When pressed to name a few of these “private sector leaders,” Klinzman wrote that he was unable to provide further comment.

Organizations likely to help with the proposal, due Oct. 19, are also keeping mum. World Business Chicago and Executives’ Club of Chicago did not respond to requests for comment. Tech hub 1871 deferred questions to the city. Michael Reever, acting president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said the mayor will play “an important lead” and that the city’s business organizations, including the chamber and World Business Chicago, “are there to assist and complement his efforts,” Reever says.

So we’re going to try to guess who might be the city’s new business heroes, should Amazon choose Chicago as its second-headquarters city. Here’s a list of nine people who could help, even if they stay behind the scenes.

Ken Griffin, CEO, Citadel: Recent donations, including his recent $16.5 million gift to the Field Museum and 2016’s $12 million to complete the lakefront running and walking path, show his devotion to Chicago. Even if he did spend $200 million on a condo in New York.

Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky: Their Groupon helped establish Chicago’s rep as a tech hub. Amazon, a tech firm at its core, would burnish that reputation.

Mellody Hobson: Hobson likes Chicago, and she likes big projects; she, not her filmmaker husband George Lucas, did the public lobbying to bring the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to Chicago’s lakefront. Here’s hoping the city’s snub of that effort won’t blunt her enthusiasm for helping her hometown on a different endeavor.

Mark Tebbe, founder of Answers.com: Tebbe, now adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, involves himself in most things tech and entrepreneurial; aside from civic pride, who knows if he would devote time to bringing an established company to the city.

Howard Tullman: The CEO of 1871 has long championed technology in the city, but again, tech of the startup kind. While he’s stepping down from his post at 1871, that’s not until the end of the year.

Michael Sacks: Good odds. The GCM Grosvenor chair and CEO is one of the mayor’s closest friends and advisors. Landing Amazon would be a feather in the mayor’s cap, and Sacks would surely want to help stick it there.

J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy: Were they not running for governor of Illinois, both of these wealthy businessmen and Chicago boosters would be point men in the city’s full-court press for Amazon. But they are, so they’re not.

More:

Emanuel, Bezos have already discussed Chicago’s chances

Amazon is Chicago’s deal to lose



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