The Better Government Association today announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer, David Greising, who will succeed long-time BGA CEO Andy Shaw in leading one of Illinois’ premier nonpartisan, civic watchdog organizations.
A veteran award-winning business and investigative journalist, Greising will succeed Shaw as the BGA’s president and CEO effective March 19. Shaw will remain active this year in supporting BGA’s fund-raising and civic engagement as president emeritus, and an ex-officio member of the BGA board of directors.
For the past 35 years, Greising has been a high-profile journalist locally and nationally, reporting on news such as the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, corporate bankruptcies, government investigations, Illinois’ fiscal health, and community unrest following police actions. He served more than a decade as the Chicago Tribune’s business columnist and chief business correspondent, covering business, civic and political newsmakers in Illinois.
A Chicago native, Greising began his career at the City News Bureau of Chicago, then worked as a business reporter and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. He moved to Business Week, and later was the magazine’s Atlanta bureau chief before joining the Tribune. Greising left the Tribune in 2009 to help establish and manage the Chicago News Cooperative, a digital, not-for-profit startup that provided coverage of Chicago for The New York Times.
Greising recently served for nearly five years as the Midwest bureau chief for Reuters, one of the world’s largest news organizations.
“The board is very pleased to welcome David Greising as our new CEO. He is an excellent choice to continue the outstanding job Andy has done in leading the BGA in our ongoing goals to achieve government reform,” BGA Board Chairman Mark Rust said. “Drawing on his experience as a top journalist, editor, executive, and civic-minded person, David will take the BGA forward as it marks its 95th year. With this leadership appointment, the BGA goes from strength to strength in its mission to fight for government that is more honest, efficient, transparent, and accountable.”
Rust praised Shaw’s leadership since joining the BGA in 2009 after a 37-year Chicago career in print and television journalism. Under Shaw’s management, the BGA significantly grew its investigative staff, civic engagement, and fundraising efforts while reporting scores of high-impact investigations, including those that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars. Its Freedom of Information Act requests forced transparency, notably when Mayor Rahm Emanuel had to release once-private emails, and just recently when a court ordered the Navy Pier authority to release secret financial and policy records.
“We are grateful to Andy for reinvigorating and elevating the BGA to be the high-impact watchdog organization it once was — and is again today,” Rust said. “The BGA has an exceptional team of people made possible in large part by Andy’s tireless efforts to secure the financial resources to sustain our vital work at the highest levels of excellence. His contributions have positioned BGA for a very promising future.”
Greising’s appointment concludes a search conducted by the BGA’s executive committee during the past several months. In January, the BGA announced Shaw would be stepping down from his leadership role, pending the appointment of his successor.
Greising won the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism three times for work published between 1998 and 2005. He also has won business writing awards from the Associated Press and the American Society of Business Editors and Writers. He is author of three books, including a biography on a former CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, and another on an FBI investigation of the Chicago futures markets. Greising has been a contributor to news programming on Chicago’s WBEZ-FM station, and has appeared frequently on Chicago TV and radio broadcast news programs as a commentator.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead this vital civic organization which started when Chicago’s reform-minded leaders desperately needed to fight the corruption and bad government of the Al Capone era,” Greising said. “I am committed, as Andy Shaw has been, to vigorously pursuing good government in Illinois. Waste, conflicts of interest, mismanagement and corruption hurt all Illinois taxpayers and citizens, and we deserve better. I look forward to working with the BGA’s excellent staff, its dedicated board, and all the patrons and people who support our work every day.”
Shaw said the BGA is in a strong position as he transitions from day-to-day responsibility next week. “Our Investigative and Public Policy and Civic Engagement teams are performing at the top of their games,” Shaw said. “Our financial situation is solid. Our strategic marketing and digital team is expanding the impact of all our reporting, advocacy, commentary, events, and content to a wider audience. I feel very good about the influence and public profile the BGA has earned, and I look forward to supporting David and the BGA team in the years ahead.”
The BGA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, civic watchdog organization that promotes reform — transparency, accountability, honesty and efficiency — through investigative journalism, civic engagement, and public policy advocacy.