Chicago Auto Show CEO Jerry Cizek Announces Retirement

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Chicago, IL – Jerry Cizek III announced his retirement as CEO and general manager of the Chicago Auto Show after more than 20 years in the position.

Cizek, who joined the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) in 1973 as field representative and became CEO and general manager in 1988, will remain under contract through 2010 to assist with the transition. The CATA launched a national search for his replacement.

Cizek told Trade Show Executive that he and his wife, Cheryl, were still formulating their long-term plans.

Cizek, whose grandfather was chairman of the 1955 show, oversaw the growth of the auto show, which was founded in 1901, from approximately 600,000 net square feet (nsf) to around 1.2 million nsf today. The CATA’s annual First Look for Charity black-tie preview of the show has grown into one of Chicago’s largest fundraising events.

The 2010 show, to be held February 12-21 at McCormick Place, will likely be somewhat smaller in size due to the slow economy and turmoil in the auto sector. “Still, there is no better investment for the industry,” Cizek said. “A healthy auto show industry is good for everyone.”

Cizek did not make any predictions on whether the economic slump would benefit the Chicago Auto Show and other big car events at the expense of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He did, however, say Chicago held a strong hand due to its hotel inventory, its vibrant downtown and the roomy McCormick Place. “Chicago is going to come out stronger in the future,” he said.

Reach Jerry Cizek at (630) 424-6000 or jcizek3rd@cata.org