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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs announced today that John Ettelson has been named the chair of its board of directors. He will succeed Leah Joy Zell and Samuel C. Scott III, who have served as co-chairs since 2018. Leah Joy Zell and Sam Scott will become Chair Emeritus, along with Lester Crown. 

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to Co-Chair the Chicago Council on Global Affairs with Sam Scott, and to participate in the transformative digitalization of the Council’s programming under the leadership of President Ivo Daalder,” Zell said. “John Ettelson, the incoming board chair, is superbly qualified to oversee the Council’s continued growth.  I look forward to supporting John in his new role, knowing that the organization is on a good path and in good hands.”  

"It has been my honor to serve as Co-Chair along with Leah Zell for the past two and a half years,” Scott said. “The Council continues to expand its reach, and promote active US engagement in the world, by addressing issues, in a nonpartisan way, that need to be discussed. 2020 has been a challenging year and the Council has modified its programming to cope with the new environment that we are living in, and I am extremely proud to have been a part of the effort." 

"I want to thank both Sam and Leah for their dedicated leadership during an important period of transition at the Council,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Their support of our mission and deep connections within our community prepared us to meet the extraordinary challenges of the past year. I’m excited to build on this foundation under John’s leadership and to expand our use of digital solutions to engage audiences as our 100th anniversary approaches in 2022.” 

John R. Ettelson is the president and CEO of investment banking, private wealth, and asset management business William Blair. A recognized civic and business leader, Mr. Ettelson received the prestigious Illinois Holocaust Museum Humanitarian Award in 2019 for his ongoing commitment to the community through both philanthropy and volunteerism. 

John has created valuable international networks and opportunities for Chicago’s people and businesses as the past chairman of the board of the Economic Club of Chicago and the past chairman of the board of trustees for the Lincoln Park Zoo. In addition, he currently serves as Life Trustee of Francis Parker School and sits on the boards of the Northwestern Medical Group, the Executives’ Club of Chicago, and World Business Chicago. Mr. Ettelson is also on the Chicago Chairman’s Council for Cradles to Crayons and is an executive advisor to the Metropolitan Planning Council.  

“It is an honor to be named chair of the Chicago Council’s board, and I look forward to supporting its mission of creating a forum to foster thoughtful dialogue on critical global issues,” Ettelson said. “We are currently living through a very important time in history and I’m proud to take on this role to guide the Council in its vision to provide a platform for a deeper understanding of how the U.S. can make a difference and influence change. I believe the Council plays a vital role in providing balanced views on important topics to enable us to help create a better world for future generations.”  

About The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices, conduct independent research, and engage the public to explore ideas that will shape our global future. The Council is committed to bringing clarity and offering solutions to issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.