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SMG Named private manager of McCormick Place complex

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CHICAGO — The Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition Authority (MPEA) has selected SMG, the global leader in convention, arena and stadium management, as private manager of its McCormick Place Complex.


The complex includes 9 million square feet in six buildings and is the nation’s largest convention center.

“We are proud to have been selected and look forward to working with the Authority to forward their reform agenda,” explained Wes Westley, SMG president and chief executive officer. “SMG has both the experience and success to enhance Chicago’s draw as a world-class convention destination.”

SMG was chosen following a highly competitive bid process for its focus on cost reductions and customer experience enhancements. The company reiterated its large market experience, industry relationships, CVB partnerships and labor relations expertise as hallmarks of its approach to McCormick Place.

Also announced was the re-appointment of David Causton as General Manager of the facility. “David is an industry leader who has successfully led the most recent efforts to enhance the customer experience at McCormick Place. We are thrilled to have him as part of the SMG team and know that the continuity he will provide will ensure a seamless transition to private management,” Westley said.

SMG is responsible for the management and marketing of more than 220 public assembly facilities worldwide. The company has built a specialized Convention Center Division, including 67 convention and exhibition centers. SMG’s seasoned executive team works actively with municipalities, convention bureaus and hospitality partners in offering first class service and fully integrated management and marketing systems. At 2.6 million square feet of prime exhibit space, McCormick Place is the nation’s largest convention facility.

“Chicago is one of the nation’s most attractive trade show markets because of its size, space, location and the recent reforms put in place,” said Gregg Caren, senior vice president of strategic business development. “Having the expertise to manage the facility is critical but understanding how to enhance the customer experience through relationships and industry partnerships is where SMG differentiates itself.”

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 220 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 12 million square feet (1.2 million square meters) of exhibition space and over 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s Reliant Park and the Louisiana Superdome. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering company SAVOR, currently serving more than 100 accounts worldwide. For more information visit




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