Chicago Infra Trust board named

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (pictured) paired public sector personnel with private sector experience for the maiden board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust. Emanuel unveiled the billion-dollar undertaking in March.

Rahm Emanuel last month filed the first-ever board of his ambitious Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), a billion-dollar industry-endorsed initiative, naming five people taken from the public sector as well as corporate America.

Chicago mayor Emanuel selected attorney David Hoffman, who is a former federal prosecutor and Windy City inspector general as well as a one-time Illinois candidate for the US Senate; long-serving alderman John Pope; and powerful labour leader Jorge Ramirez to the CIT board.

Hoffman, Pope and Ramirez will partner with James Bell, the former president and chief executive officer of The Boeing Company, and former Sara Lee and Folgers Coffee Company chief financial officer Diana Ferguson.

First-term mayor Emanuel cited his chosen board for its finance and infrastructure experience. The former Democratic operative, a trusted aide to former US President Bill Clinton and erstwhile chief of staff to President Barack Obama, announced the formation of the trust in March.

The trust is backed by financial-services giant Citibank, Citi Infrastructure Investors, JP Morgan Asset Management and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, as well as the Clinton Foundation. CIT won approval in a city council vote in April and is set to embark on its first project, a $225 million energy efficiency initiative.

Chicago is a pioneering public-private partnership (PPP) adopter in the US. In 2004, Chicago became the first US municipality to award a toll road concession, and in 2008 Chicago privatised on-street parking.