Commercial Club announces the transition of leadership of the Commercial Club and its Civic Committee



Chicago, March 1, 2017 - The Commercial Club of Chicago announced today that Ty Fahner will step down from his role as President of the Civic Committee and Club after serving in the position for just over five years. Kelly R. Welsh will succeed Fahner as president, effective April 2017.

Fahner, a member of the Commercial Club since 1992 and a member of the Civic Committee since 1998, will remain a member of the Civic Committee.

Under Fahner’s leadership, the Civic Committee worked to address the State’s and City of Chicago’s enormous pension debt, continued to support charter schools and worked to improve school quality, while achieving sustained member growth. Through the Civic Consulting Alliance, the organization led strategic initiatives such as the Police Accountability Task Force.

“There is not a larger issue facing Illinois than our dire financial condition. Ty has addressed this challenge with incredible energy, integrity and focus,” said Civic Committee Chairman Frederick H. “Rick” Waddell.

“We are grateful to Ty for his leadership across all aspects of our organization. We value his institutional knowledge and look forward to seeing him continue to serve as a member, contributing to many of our important initiatives,” Waddell added.

Fahner will remain a partner at Mayer Brown and has previously served as Chairman and co-Chairman of the firm. He is a former Attorney General of Illinois and has served as Director of the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“The Civic Committee has a long and storied history of civic involvement in Chicago. It has been a privilege to have been able to help lead the organization for the past five years,” said Fahner. “I am proud of what we have achieved through what continues to be a challenging environment. I look forward to continuing to work for the economic betterment of Chicago and Illinois.”

Kelly Welsh is a Chicago attorney who most recently served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 2014 to 2017.

Prior to joining the Commerce Department, Welsh was Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Northern Trust and held the same role at Ameritech Corporation. Previously, he was Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and began his legal career as a law clerk to a Federal Judge and then went on to practice at the law firm of Mayer Brown.

“We are thankful that an individual like Kelly Welsh has taken on this responsibility and know that he will provide a strong leadership voice to the organization,” said Waddell.

Welsh has been an active participant in civic affairs. He has served as Chairman of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Trustee of the University of Chicago Medical Center and the Field Museum of Natural History, and as a Board Member at Navy Pier, Inc. and the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University Law School. Welsh received his AB cum laude from Harvard College in 1974 and his JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978.

“I value the work that the Civic Committee has done to improve Chicago and Illinois, and look forward to working with Rick, Scott Santi, Ty and the other members of the Civic Committee to build on the important initiatives that they have undertaken,” said Welsh.