CHICAGO – Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson on Saturday announced the appointment of Kenya K. Merritt as Deputy Mayor of Business and Neighborhood Development, tasked with promoting wage growth, entrepreneurship, and investment for all Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. Merritt’s leadership will be especially critical for making sure the city’s neighborhood investment programs deliver real results and transformation. Johnson also announced the creation of a new tandem position, Deputy Mayor of Corporate Development, to focus on broad economic initiatives such as corporate expansion and recruitment, major entertainment and cultural events, and large-scale development projects. Once the hiring process for that role is completed, both Deputy Mayors will work collaboratively to advance economic growth and opportunity across Chicago.
“I’m proud to announce Kenya K. Merritt will serve as Deputy Mayor of Business and Neighborhood Development and look forward to working together to revitalize communities and create economic opportunities in every neighborhood of Chicago,” said Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. “Kenya’s leadership, in close collaboration with the Deputy Mayor of Corporate Development, will be instrumental in fortifying and expanding Chicago’s economy and proving that economic equity and economic growth work hand in hand.”
Merritt brings over 20 years of experience to the role as a public service executive and expertise with developing and leading large-scale neighborhood and economic development initiatives. Merritt comes to the role after serving as Program Officer for the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. Previously she has served as the Chief Small Business Officer and First Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and Chief Financial Officer and Interim Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Mayor-elect Johnson will be sworn as the 57th Mayor of Chicago on Monday, May 15.