Club History

Club History

The Executives' Club of Chicago's rich history has helped shape Chicago business and advance Chicago's economic growth.

Born before the First World War, The Executives’ Club of Chicago has paralleled Chicago’s rise as a world class global city. Today, The Club is recognized as one of American’s top business forums – where members meet with visionary business and government leaders from around the world; become actively involved with colleagues and the larger business community; and learn how to help their companies better compete in the new, dynamic global economy. A brief history of The Executives’ Club as it has interacted on the stage of Chicago business follows below.

Distinguished by its sandy brick façade and the elegant white mantle of its tops floors, The Hotel Sherman stood on the site that now holds the Thompson Center. Throughout the 1910s and roaring ‘20s, the hotel was one of Chicago's premier nightspots. While the live jazz presented in its College Inn restaurant attracted celebrities, tourists, and members of high society in the evenings, it was during the day that members of The Executives’ Club met each week in a small banquet room.

In its first several years, the core of The Club discussed among themselves the affairs of the day and the business impact. In sharing their experiences as well, they looked for ways to learn from one another and work with each other on the business front. They perhaps talked of new ventures that could benefit from the success of Chicago’s retail companies or examined the strategies that enabled Samuel Insull, through his leadership of Commonwealth Edison, to expand the company’s hold on electric power in the Midwest.

Like many other Chicagoans, their attention in 1914 surely turned to the local affects of the U.S. decision to enter the First World War in support of Great Britain, France, and Russia. With many of the area’s young men sent overseas after their training at Fort Sheridan and the Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of the city, employment opportunities emerged for women and African Americans. The Great Migration of African Americans from the South to industrial cities like Chicago continued after the war came to a close in 1918.