World Busi­ness Chicago hit by pan­demic, suf­fers job losses

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY DAVID ROEDER, BUSI­NESS & LA­BOR RE­PORTER droeder@sun­times.com | @Roed­erDavid

World Busi­ness Chicago, the pub­licpri­vate agency that pro­motes re­gional job growth, is fac­ing the same fund­ing pres­sures as other or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses and has laid off some staff, its pres­i­dent and CEO said Fri­day.

An­drea Zopp said the group has laid off five peo­ple and elim­i­nated four open po­si­tions, leav­ing it with a staff of 30. “We are ex­pect­ing rev­enue im­pacts re­lated to COVID-19, and we felt it was im­por­tant to bet­ter align our ex­penses with those ex­pec­ta­tions,” she said.

Zopp said she and other top staff at WBC have taken pay cuts she de­clined to spec­ify. The laid-off staffers re­ceived sev­er­ance, she said.

The pan­demic-re­lated shut­downs have cut off cor­po­rate travel and forced com­pa­nies to de­fer de­ci­sions about hir­ing or ex­pand­ing. Con­se­quently, Zopp said, her group has less work to do in those ar­eas.

“We’re still talk­ing to a num­ber of com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions in­ter­ested in com­ing to or ex­pand­ing in Chicago,” Zopp said. “The pace of de­ci­sion-mak­ing has slowed.”

She said re­cent out­breaks of vi­o­lence have not de­terred out­side in­vest­ment. In ad­di­tion, the city “has a very pos­i­tive story to tell” about its han­dling of COVID-19, Zopp said.

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