Clayco Welcomes Michael Fassnacht as President of Chicagoland and first-ever Chief Growth Officer

Highly respected, experienced, and well-known leader to drive growth in Chicagoland and beyond

Chicago, IL – February 5, 2024 – Clayco, a full-service, turnkey real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build, and construction firm, announced today the hiring of well-known business executive and civic leader Michael Fassnacht as President of the Chicagoland Region and the first ever Chief Growth Officer. Fassnacht will oversee all aspects of the Chicagoland operations, including business development, marketing, and sales, and serve as a mentor and coach to the team working alongside him. Additionally, as the Chief Growth Officer, a newly created role, he will support all organizational units to help further elevate Clayco as a world-class B2B marketer to meet its ambitious growth plans for the next decade and beyond.

“Clayco is doubling down on our commitment to growth and excellence in Chicagoland. Michael is well known in the city and region, especially after his outstanding leadership at World Business Chicago and as an extremely civically engaged leader over many years in Chicago,” said Bob Clark, Founder and Executive Chairman of Clayco. “Michael brings an unmatched passion for business growth, an understanding of the economic ecosystem in Chicagoland as well as a strategic and creative mindset that will be highly beneficial for our clients and our Clayco team. His success as a corporate leader, an entrepreneur, and a civic spokesperson for the city and region is a rare combination that we cherish at Clayco.”

Michael Fassnacht is a German native with nearly 20 years of experience in Chicago, first as the CEO of one of the largest global advertising firms, Foote Cone & Belding (FCB), and most recently as the first-ever Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago and the CEO of World Business Chicago, the city’s economic development entity. Michael started his career at Lufthansa Airlines in Frankfurt, Germany, and then launched an innovative and successful marketing tech firm in the early 2000s in Silicon Valley.  He moved to Chicago in 2006 to lead a highly successful tenure at FCB, increasing its revenue above market growth 10 years in a row and establishing the company as one of the most creatively successful firms globally. His four-year-long leadership at World Business Chicago drove the organization to double in size, enabled more than 400 ProChicago decisions by corporations who relocated and expanded in the region and positioned World Business Chicago as one of the premier economic development organizations in North America.

“It’s a privilege to join the Clayco team. I am excited to bring my expertise, passion, and drive to the organization. Over the last years, I have gotten to know Clayco very well, and I continue to be impressed with Bob Clark and his team’s vision of building one of America’s most respected companies,” Michael said. “I love building teams, communities, purpose, and strategies and I love physical buildings, all with the north star of creating stronger and more inclusive communities based on a foundation of economic success and growth.”

Michael serves on numerous civic boards, including the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Civic Consulting Alliance, the Poetry Foundation, and Current. Michael is an avid cyclist, married to well-known Yoga and Mindfulness instructor, Dr.Rhonda Duffaut, and has two college-age children.

About Clayco

Clayco is a full-service, turnkey real estate development, master planning, architecture, engineering, and construction firm that safely and sustainably delivers the highest quality solutions to clients across North America on time, on budget, and above and beyond expectations. With $5.2 billion in revenue for 2022, Clayco specializes in the “art and science of building,” providing fast track, efficient solutions for industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential-related building projects. For more information, visit

What business and civic leaders are saying

It’s great to see that an outstanding business leader, deeply committed to Chicago and our region, is joining a strongly growing Chicago headquartered company, Clayco, that is expanding every single day. I wish Michael the best on his next professional chapter after doing an outstanding leadership job at World Business Chicago for the last four years. And I am especially happy that we keep Michael close and keep him involved in building a better Chicago.

Martin Cabrera, Founder & CEO at Cabrera Capital

I got to know Michael when he ran Foot Cone & Belding in Chicago and transformed this agency into a true creative and strategic powerhouse with an outstanding growth path over his 10 years as CEO. Afterwards, he has done outstanding work at WBC and for the City of Chicago. I can’t wait to see how he brings his strategic marking talent and relentless drive to Clayco; it will be fun to watch.

Richard Edelman, President & CEO at Edelman

Over the last four years I worked closely with Michael and have seen his world-class leadership skills in action. His strategic insights, thoughtful execution and affable way allowed him to effectively partner with a variety of constituents and stakeholders. I have no doubt that he will be an asset to Clayco and help further the company’s growth trajectory.

Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President at Ariel Investments

Clayco is a world class corporation that is one of the most innovative, fully integrated real estate companies in North America with a tremendous growth trajectory. I am thrilled to see that my good friend Michael Fassnacht is joining the firm. I am confident that he will bring tremendous value to Clayco and further elevate the firm’s work, reputation, and growth.

Richard Price, Executive Chairman at Mesirow

Congratulations to my good friend Michael for joining an extraordinary company that has shown phenomenal growth over the last years. I am looking forward to partnering with him on many areas, both on the civic and business side. We need more business leaders like Michael who are working hard on creating a prosperous and inclusive economy in our region and beyond.

Smita Shah, President & CEO at SPAAN Tech

In Chicago, we are optimists and passionate advocates for a better Chicago. Therefore, I am excited that one of the most optimistic champions that I know, Michael Fassnacht, is joining the world-class Clayco. I can’t wait to continue working with both of them to build great things.

Jeff Shapack, Founder & CEO at SHAPACK

It has been exhilarating to watch my good friend Bob Clark orchestrate Clayco‘s meteoric growth since relocating his headquarters to Chicago just 11 years ago, while becoming one of our nations largest and most diversified fully integrated design/build real estate conglomerates. For the past 10 years, I have marveled at Michael’s amazing talents—first as a highly successful CEO and creative business leader at FCB Chicago, and most recently as Chicago’s most inspirational, and productive civic leader and contributor. There is no doubt that Michael’s perpetual energy, inspirational creativity, and proven leadership skills will help to accelerate phenomenal growth and outstanding success as well as its unwavering contributions to our Chicagoland community.

Bob Wislow, Founder & CEO at Parkside Reality