Brett Hart, '94: Tapped as New McPier Chairman by Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has nominated United Airlines' general counsel to head the board that oversees the city's convention center.

Brett Hart, the Chicago-based airline's executive vice president who also served as its interim CEO earlier this year, will be installed as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority at its monthly board meeting tomorrow.

The convention agency's eight board members—four appointed by the mayor and four by the governor—must approve the nomination of a new chairman made jointly by Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Hart will replace former McDonald's Chairman and CEO Jack Greenberg as chairman at the agency, commonly known as McPier, which owns and operates McCormick Place. Greenberg, chairman of the authority's board since 2012, announced his resignation from the post last month.

The United exec was thrust into the spotlight late last year when he filled in for Oscar Munoz as the company's chief executive after Munoz suffered a heart attack. Munoz returned to the CEO role in March.

Before joining United in 2010, Hart was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Sara Lee. His resume also includes stints at law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago and as special assistant to the general counsel of the U.S. Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C.

The Chicago resident has a degree in philosophy and English from the University of Michigan, as well as a law degree from the University of Chicago. He has served on the boards of the Shedd Aquarium, Goodman Theatre, Lurie Children's Hospital, Fermi Research Alliance, Just the Beginning Foundation and Cook County Justice for Children. He currently serves on the board of the Chicago Urban League and is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council and the Civic Committee Transportation Task Force.

“The MPEA and McCormick Place campus play a critical role in the economic vitality of the city of Chicago,” Hart said in a statement. “I am honored by the mayor's appointment, and I look forward to working with the MPEA board, the city and the state of Illinois to continue strengthening these venues and the surrounding community for generations to come.”

Hart joins the board amid a major expansion of the convention center's campus. McPier is building a $164 million, 10,000-seat arena across the street from its McCormick Place West building that will be the new home of DePaul men's and women's basketball when it opens next fall.

Next door to the arena, the agency is building a 1,206-room Marriott Marquis hotel, part of a larger effort by the city and the convention center to create an entertainment district around McCormick Place.

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