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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Michael Fassnacht

President & CEO

World Business Chicago

Location: Cook County

Founded: 1999

Industry: Civic Organization

According to Michael Fassnacht, CEO and president of World Business Chicago, an outstanding leader needs to be a civic leader, too. “One can’t solely focus on maximizing shareholder value while ignoring the company’s impact on the broader society,” he said. “At the same time, any organization needs to have a clear vision and strategy of how to stay relevant and competitive in any ever-changing world.”

The mission of World Business Chicago is to drive inclusive economic growth and job creation, support business and promote the City of Chicago and the Chicagoland region as a leading global hub for business.

Fassnacht has played a pivotal role in expanding World Business Chicago to become a powerful convener of regional economic development, propelling it to new heights and significantly enhancing its competitive advantage, said his staff. Under his leadership, the organization has embraced a strategic vision, focusing on driving equitable and inclusive economic development while prioritizing key industries and emerging sectors that hold immense potential for expansion and growth.

“Michael recognized the importance of positioning the agency as a catalyst for attracting competitive businesses and securing major business wins for the Chicago region,” said his staff.

Over the last three years, the organization’s reach has doubled by focusing on five key industry sectors, by expanding the organization’s impact to reach all of the Chicagoland region and by promoting the city and region aggressively across the U.S. and globally.

Fassnacht said that a successful organization can’t just rely on others to tell its story but rather become a publisher of its purpose and mission, with a clear voice across multiple communications platforms. “Your employees, partners, vendors and all other constituents need to hear from you directly as to what you are doing, the impact you are creating and the future initiatives you are working on,” said Fassnacht. “This purposeful approach not only reignites our enthusiasm but also fosters a shared commitment to our mission, ultimately driving our success and impact.”

According to his staff, Fassnacht fosters a collaborative and inclusive work culture. “Michael’s leadership is characterized by his ability to inspire and engage his team members,” they said. “He leads by example, demonstrating a strong work ethic, passion for the organization’s mission and a genuine care for the well-being of his employees.”

Through investing in his employees’ growth, fostering collaboration and creating an engaging and supportive work culture, Fassnacht has transformed his team into a high-performing, collaborative, engaged and impactful force, said his colleagues.

For his continued leadership that has propelled the organization into success, Fassnacht has been named a titan.

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