During his tenure as CEO, Jim led Mesirow Financial to exceptional levels of growth in all areas of the business. Among the 50 acquisitions completed during that time, are firms such as Stein & Company, a premier real estate organization, Near North Insurance Brokerage's Chicago office and Dann Insurance, two leading insurance agencies, and the U.S. Corporate Recovery practice from KPMG.
Throughout his career, Jim served on more than 50 corporate, civic and not-for-profit boards of directors. He also served as chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, a media firm that publishes 58 newspapers and corresponding websites, including The Chicago Sun-Times. In 2007, he was appointed to the board of PrivateBancorp, Inc., a publicly held commercial bank.
Jim had also been a tireless advocate for the community and participated in numerous organizations in support of health care, education and children. He was a member of The Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. He served on the boards of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (also as chairman), The Executives' Club of Chicago (chairman), The Economic Club of Chicago, University of Chicago Medical Center, Illinois State University Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Education Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund and Ulich Children's Network (UCAN). Jim completed a 10-year appointment by Mayor Daley as chairman of the board of City Colleges of Chicago, an organization with seven colleges and more than 121,000 students. He also served on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) International board and served as chairman from 2006 to 2008. He held various leadership positions with JDRF's Illinois Chapter including member-at-large of its executive committee, a life member of its board of directors and was named the organization's 2004 Person of the Year.
A native Chicagoan, Jim grew up on the South Side in the Beverly neighborhood. He received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Illinois State University.