CHICAGO -Veteran Chicago-based public finance banker Carole Brown is headed to City Hall to take charge of the city's battered finances.
The new chief financial officer inherits a city fresh off a Moody's Investors Service downgrade to a junk bond rating that faces liquidity turbulence and mounting pension woes.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the announcement Friday. Current CFO Lois Scott, who served under Emanuel for the entirety of his first term, previously announced her plans to move on when Emanuel is inaugurated to his second term May 18.
"Carole Brown brings decades of financial experience to the City of Chicago," Emanuel said in a statement. "Carole's experience and reputation as a tough, but honest financial manager will be a valuable asset as we continue to create a conducive environment for job creation and economic growth for the City of Chicago. "
Brown is a managing director at Barclays and heads the firm's Midwest municipal practice.
"I am grateful to Mayor Emanuel for offering me this opportunity to serve Chicago residents, and I am eager to begin working with the mayor's financial team to address the city's financial challenges," Brown said.
Brown, a Baltimore native who graduated from Harvard University and received a master's degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, has served in the public spotlight before. Former Mayor Richard Daley tapped her to serve as chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Authority Board from 2002 through 2009.
"During her CTA tenure, Ms. Brown used her financial expertise to help the CTA address structural deficits through efficiencies and reforms, finance billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, rail improvements, and capital construction. She also helped oversee development of the Pink Line and the first Blue Line reconstruction project," the city's statement said.
Brown served on Emanuel's transition team as chairman for his tax-increment financing reform panel. At the state level, Brown has served on the state's Budget for Results Commission.
Brown, who is well-respected for technical banking prowess and issuer relationships, has worked at Barclays since 2011, leaving Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. where she had worked since 2009.
When Scott announced her plans to depart, market participants said their hope was that Emanuel would hire a veteran financial professional with a depth of knowledge of the debt markets. Brown fits that bill.
Brown also knows the local and state political landscape and she's a familiar face to Chicago City Council members from her tenure at the CTA.
Brown had previously been a banker at the former Lehman Brothers but left when Barclays acquired Lehman's public finance assets following Lehman's 2008 bankruptcy filing.
She joined Mesirow Financial Inc. to lead its public finance group. She moved to Siebert from Mesirow in 2009.
Brown also has held positions at the former First National of Chicago and Midwest Management Consultants.