Christopher Kennedy '94 Former President, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.
Christopher G. Kennedy is the former president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI). MMPI manages The Merchandise Mart and 350 West Mart Center/ Chicago Apparel Center in Chicago; The Washington Design Center and Federal Center Southwest in Washington, D.C.; The Architects & Designers Building and 7W New York in New York City; Market Square, the Suites at Market Square, Plaza Suites, Furniture Plaza, Hamilton Market and the National Furniture Mart in High Point, NC; the L.A. Mart in Los Angeles, CA., and the Boston Design Center in Boston, MA.
MMPI is a division of New Jersey-based Vornado Realty Trust, which purchased MMPI along with The Merchandise Mart, Chicago Apparel Center, the Washington Design Center and Washington Office Center from the Kennedy family in 1998. The Mart and 350 West Mart Center in Chicago together comprise the largest wholesale trade center in the United States. The mixed-use complex encompasses 6.2 million square feet.
Kennedy was named president of MMPI in October 2000. He began his career with MMPI as a research analyst in 1987. In 1988, he was promoted to director of the Architectural Products Division of The Merchandise Mart and earned promotions to vice president in 1991 and executive vice president in 1994. He left this position in 2011 to pursue other interests
Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College in 1986 and a master’s of management from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University in 1994.
Kennedy is involved with several companies. He sits on the board of directors of Ariel Mutual Funds and serves on the board of directors of the Interface Floor Covering Company. He also serves on the board of various privately held companies.
Kennedy is active in numerous nonprofit groups as well. He is the treasurer of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. He serves on the board of directors of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Catholic Theological Union. He is the past chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, and is a former chairman of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Additionally, he served on the boards of Citizens Energy Corporation, El Valor Agency, the Heartland Alliance, Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Irish Fellowship Club, the Center for Disability and Elder Law, and the Illinois Council on Economic Education.
Chris also is involved in numerous civic organizations in Chicago, including the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the City Club of Chicago, the Executives’ Club of Chicago, the Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago.
Christopher G. Kennedy is the son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and is the eighth of their eleven children. He currently resides in suburban Chicago with his wife, Sheila Berner Kennedy, and children Katherine, Christopher Jr., Sarah and Clare.