CHICAGO — DePaul University has elected three leaders to its 41-member board of trustees: Gery J. Chico, senior partner at the Chicago law firm of Chico & Nunes, P.C.; Kerrie Holley, vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco; and Kristi Savacool, CEO of Aon Hewitt.
“DePaul now has even greater expertise in the areas of executive management, law and technology thanks to our newest board members,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul. “All three are highly strategic and love our mission. I am grateful for their dedication and service to our university.”
Chico combines an accomplished background in city government and education, law and business. He has practiced law and represented leading companies in Chicago and the nation over the past 25 years principally in the areas of real estate and land use, government regulation and business counseling. He has a unique understanding of both the public and private sectors given his strong background in public service, the law and business. Since April 2004, Chico has been a Senior Partner at the Chicago law firm of Chico & Nunes, P.C. In March 2004, he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He also served as special counsel to the law firm of Arnstein & Lehr, was a senior partner in the law firm of Altheimer & Gray, and a partner at Sidley & Austin. While an associate at that firm, he served as general counsel to the Chicago Development Council. He worked for the city of Chicago Department of Planning and later as a senior staff member for the Chicago City Council Committee on Finance.
Chico graduated from the Loyola University School of Law where he was a member of the Loyola Law Review. Additionally, Chico served as chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. In 1995, Mayor Daley appointed Chico president of the board of trustees of the Chicago Public Schools. In 2011, former Gov. Pat Quinn named Chico as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. In 2010, Chico served as chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago. Chico also served as president of the board of commissioners of the Chicago Park District, and twice served as a commissioner of the Public Building Commission of Chicago.
Chico is a trustee for the National Museum of Mexican Art, and a member of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Chicago Urban League, the former chairman of the University of Illinois Alumni Association and the former chairman of the Erikson Institute. He was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a member of the committee overseeing the Judicial Performance Evaluation Program. Chico was one of the founders of the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce (now the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce).
Chico first joined the DePaul University Board of Trustees in 2001 and left after 10 years when he was named chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.
Holley, a computer scientist and inventor, is a vice president and chief technology officer at Cisco. He is a recent retired IBM Fellow where his last position was in IBM Research.
Previously Holley was the CTO of IBM's Global Business Services, Application Innovation Services where he also reached the status of IBM Master Inventor. IBM Fellow is the company's pre-eminent technical distinction, granted in recognition of outstanding and sustained technical achievements and leadership in engineering, programming, services, science and technology. It is the highest honor a scientist, engineer or programmer at IBM can achieve.
Holley has held senior positions at Ernst and Young, Bank of America and Tandem Computers prior to IBM.
He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from DePaul University where he also received a Juris Doctor degree.
Savacool is CEO of Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc. Aon Hewitt serves more than 20,000 clients around the world across more than 100 solutions. She leads a team of more than 35,000 professionals in offices across six continents that collaborate with organizations to solve their most complex challenges in talent, retirement and health. Savacool is responsible for setting the firm's strategy, sponsoring relationships with its largest clients and overseeing its operations.
Prior to her current role, Savacool was CEO of Benefits Administration for Aon Hewitt. Savacool led the unit to deliver market-leading defined benefit, defined contribution and health and welfare services to more than 21 million participants. She led an organization of more than 15,000 Benefits Administration colleagues, including Aon Hewitt's 8,000-person operation in India at the time. Before joining Hewitt in 2005, Savacool worked for The Boeing Company for more than 25 years, where she held a number of senior executive management positions spanning technology, operations and shared services, including experience in commercial and federal business sectors.
Savacool holds a master’s degree in industrial management from Lille University in France. She has also completed executive management programs from the Johnson School of Business at Cornell University and at Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics. Savacool also completed the 2008 CEO Perspectives Program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
She currently serves on the board of the Midtown Educational Foundation in Chicago and participates in the Center for Corporate Innovation Executive Summit series with Fortune 1000 health care CEOs. She also has served on several other boards, including the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lake County, Illinois; the Boeing Australia Holding Co., Sydney; Seattle University School of Business; and the United Way of King County, Seattle.
DePaul University’s Board of Trustees is responsible for shaping the strategies that best promote the fulfillment of the university’s mission and values. With more than 23,500 students and about 300 academic programs, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. It is nationally recognized for incorporating service learning throughout its curriculum and preparing its graduates for a global economy.
DePaul was founded in Chicago in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century priest for whom the university is named. DePaul’s tradition of providing a quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds, with particular attention to first-generation students, has resulted in one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies. More information is available at www.depaul.edu