February 14, 2013
Ivo Daalder, U.S. ambassador to NATO and a national security expert, will become president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs effective July 1.
Daalder, 52, is succeeding Marshall Bouton, who served in the post for 12 years.
"As a thought leader, policy practitioner and visionary, Ivo is a great match for the Council. He shares the Board's objective of increasing The Chicago Council's stature as a foremost center of influence on opinion and policy on global affairs," Lester Crown, chairman of the council, said in a statement.
During his four years at NATO, Daalder helped prepare the Obama administration for two summits, including the one last May in Chicago, which exposed Daalder to the city.
"It was helpful that he came here, and I think his wife was here at the same time, and they really liked Chicago a lot," said Henry Bienen, president emeritus of Northwestern University, who led the search committee.
Bienen said Daalder was attracted to the job here because "it's a prominent position both in Chicago and the Midwest. I don't want to say it's the only game, but it's the big game. And that was attractive to him, because he knows he can make his mark."
Daalder has a long career in academia and foreign affairs. The Dutch-born Daalder was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington from 1997 to 2009. From 1995 to 1997, he served as director of European affairs on President Bill Clinton's National Security Council, where he was responsible for policy toward Bosnia.
Kevin Willer turning over reins at 1871
Kevin Willer, who ran 1871, the city's technology startup hub in The Merchandise Mart, will depart this summer as chief executive of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center to co-lead the i2A Fund, a local venture capital firm.
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center's flagship project is 1871, a co-working space that has become the symbol of the growth in the city's tech sector. Willer, 38, said he will stay on at the center at least until 1871's first anniversary in May.
He won't be moving far: I2A's office is located in 1871.
A search firm is being hired to help find Willer's replacement.
At i2A, Willer will help decide which startups the firm's second fund will back. He also is investing his own money in the fund. I2A's first fund totaled $10 million, with about $2 million coming from two sources of state taxpayer money and the rest from wealthy investors, said Stuart Larkins, managing director of the i2A Fund, which stands for the Illinois Innovation Accelerator Fund.
The second fund is expected to have $30 million to $35 million and likely will contain no taxpayer money, Larkins said. A majority of the funding will come from a group of wealthy families, including those of brothers J.B. and Tony Pritzker, represented on the i2A board by Adam Koopersmith; Pat Ryan Jr. and his brothers; and Arlington Park racetrack chairman Richard Duchossois, represented by Robert Fealy, president of The Duchossois Group, Larkins said.
Although digital startups are sprouting in Chicago at a rate of about one every other day, there are few venture capital firms. Venture capitalists invest in the early stages of a technology company and almost always take board seats, through which they exert control.
"My plan was to always be an investor; that's why I was learning the business (as a partner at J.B. and Tony Pritzker's New World Ventures)," Willer said of the second job he was doing while leading the entrepreneurial center. "I wasn't planning on (becoming an investor) this quickly, but it was a unique opportunity."
Willer said he will be stepping down as a venture partner at New World as part of the transition. I2A co-founder Kapil Chaudhary will continue to play a role in the investments he managed for the firm's first fund but will have no role moving forward, Larkins said.
Larkins said he has known Willer for 12 years. The two met soon after Willer co-founded the Google Chicago office in 2000. Larkins described Willer's role at the entrepreneurial center as that of "a politician." His job at i2A will involve a lower profile, which Willer acknowledged.
"The last year or so with 1871 has been so rewarding and energizing," Willer said. "But I've been working crazy, crazy hours and have three young kids. I need to have a little more balance in my life."
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