Christopher G. Kennedy: Wikis


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Christopher G. Kennedy
Born Christopher George Kennedy
July 4, 1963 (1963-07-04) (age 46)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Alma mater - Boston College (bachelor of arts in political science)
- Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (master of business administration)
Occupation Businessman
Employer Merchandise Mart Properties
Title President
Political party Democratic
Religious beliefs Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Sheila Sinclair (née Berner) Kennedy (since 1987)[1]
Children four
Parents Robert Francis Kennedy and Ethel (née Skakel) Kennedy
Relatives Siblings:
Kathleen Hartington Kennedy (born 1951)
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II (born 1952)
Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr. (born 1954)
David Anthony Kennedy (1955–1984)
Mary Courtney Kennedy (born 1956)
Michael LeMoyne Kennedy (1958–1997)
Mary Kerry Kennedy (born 1959)
Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy (born 1965)
Douglas Harriman Kennedy (born 1967)
Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy (born 1968)

also see Kennedy family

Christopher G. Kennedy (born July 4, 1963) is an American businessman.

He is president of Merchandise Mart Properties, a commercial-property management firm based in Chicago, Illinois, which manages various properties including The Merchandise Mart in Chicago and the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles, California, and the Boston Design Center in Boston, Massachusetts.[2]

He is the son of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a member of the Kennedy family.


Early life and education

Christopher George Kennedy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Robert Francis Kennedy and Ethel (née Skakel) Kennedy, the eighth of their eleven children. He is one of four of the grandchildren of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy born during the administration of his uncle U.S. President John F. Kennedy. His siblings are:

He grew up at his family home, Hickory Hill, in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and attended The Potomac School in McLean through ninth grade. He transferred to Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland, also a suburb of Washington; he graduated in 1982. While in high school, he volunteered at a home for runaway youth.

Kennedy graduated from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1986[3]. In 1994, he graduated with a master of business administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.


Kennedy has been the president of Merchandise Mart Properties in Chicago, Illinois, since 2000. Owned by the Kennedy family at the time, the property was subsequently sold to Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust. After being hired to a senior-level position in 1988, Kennedy was one of the only employees to receive three promotions in as many years. The Merchandise Mart, one of the properties of Merchandise Mart Properties, is the largest commercial building in the world, serving as both a luxury wholesale design center and one of the leading international business locations in Chicago. The Mart spans two city blocks and rises twenty-five stories for a total of 4.2 million square feet (390,000 square metres) Three million people come through The Mart each year to visit its retail shops, permanent showrooms, and office space as well as attend the numerous trade, consumer and community events hosted there.

Kennedy has worked to create hundreds of new jobs and economic opportunities by bringing manufacturers and retailers together, and The Mart has become Illinois’s largest attractor of new business.

He also led The Mart’s efforts to become the world’s-largest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED-EB)-certified building[4], and since earning LEED certification in 2007, The Mart has continued to be a leader and innovator in green practices[5].

Personal life



Kennedy met Sheila Sinclair Berner (born December 4, 1962), an Illinois native, while attending Boston College. After graduating from college in 1986, Kennedy moved to Illinois, and they were married in 1987 [1] in Illinois. They are raising their four children in the Chicago area. His wife earned a law degree and practiced at Sidley & Austin in Chicago before taking time off to take care of their children.


Kennedy's political activism began at an early age, and in 1979 and 1980 he worked on his uncle U.S. Senator Edward Moore Kennedy's bid for the 1980 Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. President. He was also treasurer of the campaign committee for his brother Joseph's reelection to the U.S. House in 1988. Over the years he has organized numerous fundraising events in Chicago for his uncle Ted, his sister Kathleen, his brother Joseph and his cousin Mark Shriver.

The National Journal once quoted Kennedy as saying, "I have a lot to keep up with: a brother who might run for Congress, a sister and a brother considering races for governor, a cousin who might run for Congress, another in Congress, an uncle in the Senate and a cousin-in-law, Arnold [Schwarzennegger], who is thinking of running for governor."

Beyond his family, Kennedy has served in a variety of capacities for numerous political campaigns, including hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama in his bid for U.S. Senate.

In August 2009, after considering a run for the U.S. Senate[6] , as did many others, Kennedy decided not to run.[7] Also in August 2009, on the day after his uncle Ted's death on August 25, 2009, Kennedy was appointed to the University of Illinois board of trustees by Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.[8] On September 10, 2009, Kennedy was elected by the trustees as their chairman.[9]

Kennedy has never run for, won, or held an elective office.[8]

Business and economic involvement

He is on the board of trustees of the mutual funds managed by Ariel Investments[10], a Chicago-based investment-management firm.

Since 1996, he has been a member of the Economic Club of Chicago[11], a group established in the 1920s with the goal of aiding "the creation and expression of an enlightened public opinion on the important economic and social questions of the day".

Since 1997, Kennedy has also been a member of the Executives Club of Chicago[12], which brings world leaders and practices to the local business community to establish productive relationships and explore the issues facing the business world in today’s business environment.

From 1997-1999, Kennedy served as chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, a sales-and-marketing organization promoting Chicago to the tourism and convention industries. Under Kennedy's chairmanship, the bureau retained and expanded Chicago's event-and-convention industry.

Since 2000, Kennedy has been a member of the City Club of Chicago, a group that brings together civic and cultural leaders to discuss and debate issues affecting the Chicago area.

Since 2005, he has been a member of The Commercial Club of Chicago, a group that brings together the city’s business, educational, and cultural leaders on projects to improve central industries and create new economic opportunities.

Illinois Council on Economic Education[13], an organization dedicated to ensuring all Illinois students are afforded an education in economics in order to be productive members of the workforce, informed consumers, and active community members.

Environmental leadership

Green Building Practices

Under Kennedy’s leadership of The Mart, it was the largest building in the world to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification in 2007[4] from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The Mart has long been implementing sustainable practices. The Mart Center began operating a thermal storage facility in 1986, capable of building 2,000,000 pounds of ice per night, cooling 71 buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, and saving $200,000 in electricity costs in the first year.

In 1990, The Mart Center began using Green Seal-approved green cleaning products and the next year implemented a recycling program, which today includes all forms of paper products, glass, light bulbs, batteries, aluminum and construction materials. In 1996, The Mart Center became one of the first major property owners in downtown Chicago to enter into an agreement with the district cooling system now known as Thermal Chicago, thus contributing to the national effort to reduce the discharge of ozone-damaging CFCs.

In 2006, MMPI joined Clean Air Counts, a voluntary initiative to reduce smog forming pollutants and energy consumption in the greater Chicago area. Part of the campaign strategies included utilizing only low VOC cleaning products, paints and building materials, as well as energy efficient lighting and alternative workplace transportation options. To date, The Mart Center has reduced pollution by 264,018 pounds for the largest reduction by a commercial building.

That same year, The Mart Center recycling program saved over 13,000 trees and recycled nearly 11 million pounds of waste, while water conservation efforts saved 5.5 million gallons of water. More than eight percent of the estimated 10,000 people working at The Mart walk, bike or take public transportation; to encourage greener methods of transportation, the Mart expanded bicycle storage capacity to more than 200 bikes. In 2009, MMPI converted all stationery to a one hundred percent post-consumer recycled product.

The Mart has nine LEED-certified showrooms, with five others on their way to LEED certification.

Green Alliances

MMPI has worked closely with:

Health-care involvement

  • The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation[16], established in the name of Kennedy’s uncle, who was killed in World War II. The Foundation educates the public and works to pass policies that assist those with intellectual disabilities.
  • Children's Memorial Hospital, the only freestanding pediactric hospital in Illinois and the top-ranked hospital in nearly every major pediatric specialty.
  • Center for Disability and Elder Law[17], a nonprofit organization that protects the rights of low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Other civic involvement

  • Since 1996, he has been a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a nonpartisan group that seeks to impact discourse on global issues through leadership, education, and policy.
  • Since 1996, Kennedy has been on the board of directors at The Irish Fellowship Club,[18] a Chicago-based group dedicated to preserving and promoting Irish heritage.
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger throughout Cook County, Illinois. It also offers education programs providing the knowledge and tools needed to break the poverty cycle.
  • El Valor[19], a nonprofit group seeking to enrich the local community by empowering the underserved, disenfranchised, and disabled while creating a sense of unity among all community members.
  • Heartland Alliance[20], a human-rights-advocacy group providing housing, healthcare, economic security, and legal protection for low-income citizens.

See also


External links


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