Prominent Chicago business and civic leader James Tyree, the chief executive officer of Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc., died at the age of 53 Wednesday from complications related to an ongoing battle with stomach cancer.
Mr. Tyree spent his entire professional career at Mesirow, joining the firm in 1980 as a research associate. He worked his way through the ranks, taking over as president in 1990 and then moving into the CEO role in 1992. He also became chairman of the firm in 1994.
During his tenure, the firm grew in all areas of its business lines, providing financial services to institutions, corporations, public-sector entities, and individuals. The firm’s broker-dealer, Mesirow Financial, ranked 15th in Illinois last year among senior managers and 29th in the Midwest, according to Thomson Reuters.
Mr. Tyree served on more than 50 corporate, civic, and nonprofit boards during his career, including a 10-year appointment as chairman of the Chicago City Colleges board. A native of Chicago, Mr. Tyree had attended the City Colleges.
“Jim Tyree was a wonderful Chicagoan and a dutiful civic leader who gave liberally of his time to improve the lives of others,” Mayor Richard Daley said in a statement. “As chairman of the board and a former student of the Chicago City Colleges, he was a mentor to the students and a strong example of what can happen through hard work and perseverance.”