Three months after the departure of CPS’s most recent communications chief, the Board of Education on Wednesday approved the hiring of a longtime communications executive from the corporate world to fill the high-pressure political job.
Ron Iori, who started his career in newspapers, says protecting “the brand and reputation of an organization is the hallmark of my work,” according to his LinkedIn profile. “My background in crisis management extends across a spectrum of short-term incidents (plane crashes, factory deaths, Firestone tire crisis) and perennial issues (prolonged financial distress, multiple executive departures over time, tax refund loans).”
His LinkedIn and company profiles indicate no previous experience working for government.
Iori was unavailable for comment on Thursday. He will be paid a yearly salary of $165,000, according to an index of board actions posted several days after the meeting.* His official title is “Chief Communications Marketing Officer.”
Iori will oversee a department that is currently undergoing a reorganization but includes media relations, online, internal communications and speech writing components.
He replaces Becky Carroll, who was hired after the election of Mayor Rahm Emanual in 2011 and headed CPS communications during the tumultuous 2012 teacher strike and last year’s contentious school closures. Carroll left her post in March, after returning from maternity leave, and now heads a super PAC that intends to raise big bucks in support of Emanuel and his aldermanic allies, according to a recent report in Crain’s Chicago Business.
Iori was most recently the senior counselor of the Chicago-based communications firm, Iori Communications. He has worked in communications for a variety of companies, including Kaplan Higher Education and Ford Motor Co., according to his company profile.
His stints in journalism included the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Cincinnati Post. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. He also holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, as did former CPS schools chief Ron Huberman.
The proposal to hire Iori was not included in Wednesday’s agenda, but was voted on after the board’s closed-door session. State law allows public bodies to discuss personnel items behind closed doors, and to consider items that are not included on the agenda.
* This story was updated on June 30, 2014, to include Iori’s salary, which CPS did not provide before this story was initially posted.