About Us


The Economic Club of Chicago has been close to the heart of the city’s history since 1927. After nearly 100 years, the ECC’s distinguished legacy continues to be refreshed and refined as we host a diverse group of global thought leaders, who engage, enlighten and challenge our members.

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Our Mission

Foster meaningful connections among Chicago leaders to encourage dialogue on important economic and social issues and to cultivate the next generation of civic leadership.

Our Founding


The Economic Club of Chicago was founded in 1927 by Lucius Teter, president of the Chicago Trust Company. Teter and his co-founders wisely understood that simply listening to speeches did not stimulate and encourage leadership. Rather, they wanted to provide a venue for experienced leaders to meet future leaders so they could pass on their business and civic ideas and ideals.

Ultimately, they invited 800 rising young executives and 200 of Chicago’s senior business leaders to join the Club. Together, they invited the foremost authorities on contemporary economics and business to join them for debate and discussion.


Over the years, members have been challenged by the thoughts and ideas shared by international heads of state, U.S. Presidents, CEOs, journalists, politicians, educators and scientists. From President Herbert Hoover and then Senator John F. Kennedy to George Romney and Senator Mitt Romney. Katharine Graham, Omar Bradley and Milton Friedman to Elon Musk. The list goes on.

  • Katharine Graham
    Publisher / The Washington Post
  • Charles Percy
    Senator / State of Illinois
  • Lee Iacocca
    Chairman & CEO / Chrysler Corp
  • John Johnson
    Founder / Johnson Publishing
  • Alan Greenspan
    13th Chair / Federal Reserve System
  • Adlai Stevenson II
    Governor / State of Illinois
  • Richard Nixon
    37th President / USA
  • Indra Nooyi
    Pepsico / CEO
  • Nelson Rockefeller
    Coordinator / Inter-American Affairs
  • Jack Welch
    Chairman & CEO / General Electric
  • George W. Romney
    Chairman & President / American Motors Corp
  • George W. Bush
    43rd President / USA
  • Herbert Hoover
    31st President / USA
  • Ronald Reagan
    40th President / USA
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    Assistant to the President
  • Wernher von Braun
    Director / George C Marshall Space Flight Center
  • Jimmy Carter
    39th President / USA
  • Milton Friedman
  • Vernon Jordan
    Presidential Advisor / Clinton Administration
  • Joseph P. Kennedy
    US Ambassador to Great Britain
  • Oveta Culp Hobby
    Federal Security Administrator
  • Barack Obama
    44th President / USA
  • Omar Bradley
    General / US Army
  • John F. Kennedy
    35th President / USA
  • Francis Collins
    Director / National Institutes of Health


The Club’s mission has stood the test of time. For nearly a century and through generations of leaders, the Club’s membership has reflected economic and societal shifts and a diversity of leadership that Club founder Lucius Teter could have never imagined.

The ECC strongly believes that leaders benefit from hearing both sides of an issue – from people they may or may not agree with. For this reason, the Club provides a forum for discussion and debate but remains an independent non-partisan voice.

For a deeper dive into the Club’s history, you can download our 75th Anniversary book History’s Witnesses (title is linked), which traces the Club’s history through the accounts of its speakers and its leaders.

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