Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the appointment of Gene Saffold as the City's Chief Financial Officer.
Saffold, 54, has been serving as Managing Director for National Accounts for JP Morgan Chase & Company, responsible for the delivery of the company's products and services to public sector and pension fund clients nationally.
He succeeds Paul Volpe, who was named Daley's Chief of Staff on December 10, 2008.
The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the City's overall financial well-being and for providing the leadership necessary to maintaining the overall strength of the city's financial profile.
Saffold will be responsible for establishing and implementing long-term financial plans and policies for the city. He issues all city debt and manages the city's overall debt profile, as well as provides to the three rating agencies all information needed to rate the city's credit.
He is also responsible for developing and competitively offering public-private partnership transactions and monitoring and improving the state of the city's pension funds.
"As everyone knows, in modern times our nation has never experienced an economic recession like the one we're going through now,"Daley said.
"With revenues plummeting, it's more difficult than ever for cities and states to maintain their financial stability.
"As we work our way through these difficult times, the challenge is to protect taxpayers and find new and better ways to manage government, provide out of the box thinking, and get the most from every tax dollar," he said.
Daley pointed out that as revenues have fallen, the City took steps to get ahead of the problem and substantially cut spending to minimize budget and service cuts in balancing the budget.
This year alone, as revenues have continued to slow, the City has cut $31 million in spending.
"Had we not responsibly managed our city finances over the years, our fiscal position would be far worse today than it is," the Mayor said.
"Gene brings with him exceptional experience from the private sector and is ideally suited to help us maintain our commitment to sound management and fiscal responsibility," he said.
Prior to his most recent position at JP Morgan Chase & Company, he was Head of Public Finance Investment Banking for J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc., and before that he was Managing Director and head of Public Finance for Banc One Capital markets.
Daley said he has asked Saffold to keep several things in mind in his new position.
"I've asked him to continue our efforts to take a long term view when it comes to understanding the economy and protecting our financial stability.
And I've asked him to help us protect our taxpayers and to put the people of Chicago first," the Mayor said.
"And I've asked him to remember that asking our taxpayers for more must always be the last resort. During these tough times, when people are hurting, this is more important than ever.
"To protect our taxpayers, we must be creative and bold in our thinking as we better manage government. Out of the box thinking in every area is needed," Daley said.
Saffold grew up in the West Chesterfield community on the South Side and graduated from Gillespie Elementary School and Harlan High School.
He is actively involved in a variety of civic, cultural and philanthropic activities, including serving on the boards of Window to the World Communications, Inc., the Local Investment Support Corporation, Steppenwolf Theater and the Erikson Institute.
Daley said he believes that many of the steps the City has taken in the last few months have helped lessen the impact of the world's recession on Chicago.
"Clearly, the time is right for us to put our heads together and ask what more we can do to protect our economy and our working families from struggling even more. It's a difficult job, but I am very pleased that Gene Saffold is coming on board to help us do it," he said.