At CEO (Boardroom Media) we track over 1,000,000 startups and over 5,000,000 people who hold key positions in these companies. We use this directory of startups to highlight top employees, founders and board members we think deserve more appreciation than they are currently getting.
This list showcases the top Chicago based CEO’ operating in the Consumer space. If you think a CEO’ is missing from this list, feel free to contact our editor on [email protected].
The individuals on this list have been included because of exceptional performance in one of the following categories:
- Innovation – Operating as a key part in an extremely innovative business or startup.
- Growth – Operating as a key figure in the growth and upscale of a market leading business or startup.
- Management – Showing exceptional management skills.
- Societal impact – Putting their business on the map for their positive societal or environmental impact.
Our Data – We source our data from OSINT (open source intelligence) and public directories such as Crunchbase, SemRush and many more. The data from these sources should be treated with a degree of caution and verified yourself.
CEO of Avant
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About Avant, Avant: Avant is an online lending platform that offers alternatives to its clients with safe financial products.
Chief Executive Officer of Ferrara Candy
Todd Siwak is CEO of the Ferrara Candy Company. Prior to joining Ferrara, he was an operating partner at Catterton Partners, one of the largest consumer-focused private equity groups in the United States. He brings to Ferrara a wealth of leadership experience in sales, marketing, operations, and management, with a specific focus on the consumer packaged-goods industry. Todd’s career has been defined by his entrepreneurial spirit, which has led him to build several companies that have experienced quick and dramatic growth. Before joining Catterton, Todd was co-founder of TRG Accessories, an international manufacturer and distributor of travel gear and accessories (global licensee for Swiss Army, Timberland, Callaway Golf); Verimetrix, a developer, manufacturer, and supplier of diagnostic medical equipment; and Mindseye Group, a boutique private equity firm with a focus on consumer and health care companies. He began his career as Executive Vice President of Paramount Headwear, where, under his sales leadership, the company quadrupled in size and became the largest headwear manufacturer in North America. In 2002, Todd was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He holds a J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law and a B.S. in economics from the University of Missouri- Columbia.
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About Ferrara Candy: Ferrara Candy is virtual tours of the making of Lemonheads, Red Hots, Gummies, Jawbusters, Boston Baked Beans and Atomic Fireballs.
Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue
As President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD), Don Thompson leads the world’s largest foodservice company. McDonald’s serves 70 million customers everyday in more than 100 countries and employs 1.8 million people across the globe in corporate and restaurant positions. During his 23 years at McDonald’s, Thompson has helped drive business results and global strategic innovation across the organization. Since joining as an electrical engineer in 1990, he has held a variety of key leadership positions within the company including Regional Vice President, Division President and Chief Operating Officer. Between 2006 and 2010, Thompson served as President of McDonald’s USA, the company’s largest business segment. Most recently as President and COO of McDonald’s Corporation, Thompson and his leadership team established three global growth priorities in support of the McDonald’s Plan to Win: to optimize the menu, modernize the customer experience and broaden restaurant accessibility. In July 2012, Thompson became President and CEO and is leading the company on its mission to become “our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.” A true advocate of collaboration and believer in the strength of the McDonald’s three legged stool, Thompson and his leadership team work closely with the 5,000 independent owner/operators, corporate staff and restaurant employees around the world as well as countless McDonald’s suppliers. A leader in the business community, Don serves on the Board of Directors for McDonald’s Corporation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Catalyst, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Purdue University. Thompson also serves as a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, The Economic Club, World Business Chicago and the Brazier Foundation. Thompson has been recognized for his leadership and passion by the Illinois Holocaust Museum (2012 Humanitarian Award), the Executive Leadership Council (2010 Corporate Award), the Trumpet Foundation (2008 Corporate Executive Award), and Black Enterprise (2007 Corporate Executive of the Year). Thompson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an honorary Doctorate in Science degree from Excelsior College. Thompson resides in the Chicagoland area with his wife and two children.
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About Cleveland Avenue: Cleveland Avenue is a Chicago-based venture fund and accelerator that invests in food, beverage, and tech businesses.
CEO and Founder of Cleveland Avenue
Don celebrates people and drives results. His 25-year ascension through the ranks of McDonald’s Corporation to become its President and CEO is one of the most respected career trajectories in corporate America. An electrical engineer by education and trade, Don approached his leadership of the world’s largest restaurant chain in a strategically methodical manner, while still embracing the warmth and enthusiasm of the dynamic teams around the world. He’s a heart leader with a head for serious business, as evidenced by his achievements such as developing the global platforms for the company’s beverages, sustainability and digital initiatives. In 2015, Don left McDonald’s to form Cleveland Avenue, LLC, bringing together his vast restaurant expertise and engineering experience with his passion for innovation, digital trends and startup concepts. Don leads the CA team in bringing creative and consumer-focused restaurant, food and beverage ideas to reality. Don is committed to mentoring others, fueled by his foundation in faith, family and community. Not to be outdone by the culinary geniuses he regularly encounters, Don occasionally dons a chef’s hat of his own, and enjoys cooking for family and friends.
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About Cleveland Avenue: Cleveland Avenue is a Chicago-based venture fund and accelerator that invests in food, beverage, and tech businesses.
Founder, CEO of dscout
Michael leads dscout working closely with our team to reshape the in-context research landscape. Prior to starting dscout, Michael served as Managing Partner at gravitytank, where he worked across all aspects of the firm’s business, from strategy to BD, producing exponential growth. Michael is an expert in consumer electronics and digital service, and has deep passion for developing high performance teams.
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About dscout, gravitytank, Jump Satori, LeadAide: dscout helps companies better understand the experiences people have with their products and brands in everyday life.
Founder & CEO of SpotHero
Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early, Mark started his first business in the 2nd grade. Through his career, he quickly realized his passion for innovation, both in technology and in everyday living. This drive ultimately led Mark to parking, where he found an entire industry ripe for innovation.Prior to his professional experience, Mark graduated with BS in Finance from Bradley University.
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About SpotHero: Leading & only independent consumer marketplace for parking in North America.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cova
Gary leads Cova’s charge into the legal cannabis space by guiding the vision, strategic development, ‘go to market’ plans and culture. Before joining Cova, Gary was a principal in over a dozen tech start-ups in the mobile communications industry ranging from small VC funded companies to Fortune 100 firms, including Onavo, which was later acquired by Facebook. In those companies he led sales, marketing, business analytics and market expansions. He has also held a multitude of leadership roles with Verizon and AT&T. Gary holds a Degree in Finance with a Masters in Marketing from the University of Colorado. In his spare time Gary enjoys skiing, mountain biking, outdoor sports, travel and comfort food.
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About Cova, EZLinks Golf: Cova offers POS solution in the cannabis industry and helps retailers simplify compliance, reduce costs, and increase revenue.
CEO and Co-Founder of mHUB
Haven Allen, chief executive officer and co-founder, is an entrepreneur and technology strategist who most recently concentrated on growing the manufacturing industry and strengthening its community throughout Chicagoland. As an economic development strategist at World Business Chicago, he directed the Advisory Council for Chicagoland Manufacturing through which he established and led the implementation of an economic development agenda to support growth and job creation in the manufacturing sector. During his graduate education, Haven served as a Mayoral Fellow at the City of Chicago. As a fellow he provided research and analysis on policy initiatives dealing with infrastructure, electricity markets and municipal marketing. In order to give back to his country, Haven joined the Peace Corps and served as a community economic development volunteer in Panama where he worked to strengthen the management and leadership capacities of rural cooperatives and local organizations in order to increase economic opportunities. In addition, Haven was a small business owner in the production and publishing industry. Haven has a Master of Public Policy and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Science, Technology and Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago.
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About mHUB, mHUB, mHUB, mHUB Accelerator Incubation LLC: mHUB is a hardtech innovation and manufacturing entrepreneurial center.
Founder & CEO of Fooda
Orazio Buzza is a Co-Founder at Fooda, Inc. He served as President & Chief Operating Officer of Echo Global Logistics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ECHO), from May 2005 until August 2010. From October 2003 to May 2005, he was the CFO and COO of InnerWorkings, Inc. (Nasdaq: INWK). From July 2001 to September 2003, Orazio was Vice President of Finance and Operations at Bus Bank, an online provider of charter bus services. He received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Supply Chain Management from the University of Illinois, and he is also a CPA.
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About Fooda: Fooda is a food technology platform that connects restaurants to people while at work.
Todd De Young
President & CEO of Antenna79
Todd joined Pong in September of 2012. Prior to joining Pong, Todd was Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Career Education Corporation where he was responsible for developing the company’s overall business strategy and leading its marketing efforts. Todd has over 20 years of experience in general management, strategic marketing, distribution, strategy development and brand building and has served in senior roles at Motorola, Ameritech, the Allstate Insurance Company and The Procter & Gamble Company. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Hope College.
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About Antenna79: Antenna79 is a consumer electronics company that design and market products with built-in antenna technology.
Founder and CEO of Farmer’s Fridge
Luke Saunders is the founder and CEO of Farmer’s Fridge.
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About Farmer’s Fridge, Food Foundry: Farmer’s Fridge provides an automated smart fridge that serves salads, bowls, snacks, and more.
Co-Founder & CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings
Ravin Gandhi is the CEO and Co-Founder of GMM Nonstick Coatings, one of the largest nonstick coatings companies in the world. Ravin also moonlights as a VC investor, and makes frequent media appearances to discuss entrepreneurship and the global economy in outlets such as CNBC, Forbes, BBC, Bloomberg, NY Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
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About GMM Nonstick Coatings: GMM Nonstick Coatings to the cookware, bakeware, and electrical appliance industries.
CEO and Co-Founder of Oars + Alps
Mia Saini is CEO and Co-Founder at Oars + Alps.
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About Oars + Alps: Oars + Alps provides skincare products for men made from natural, toxin-free ingredients.
T. Patrick Walsh
Founder & CEO of Greenlight Planet
T. Patrick Walsh is the Founder and CEO at Greenlight Planet.
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About Greenlight Planet: Greenlight sells, installs and finances solar home systems for the 1.8 billion off-grid and under-electrified consumers in Africa and Asia.
Founder and CEO of Bartesian
Ryan Close is the CEO & Founder of Bartesian.
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About Bartesian: Bartesian offers a capsule-based machine that enables individuals to make homemade cocktails.
Joseph Lacher, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Kemper Corporation
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About Kemper Corporation: Kemper Corporation is a financial organization providing insurance and consumer finance solutions for individuals and small businesses.
CEO & Co-Founder of Rewards21
Cary Chessick is chief revenue officer at Goodbay Technologies.
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About Goodbay Technologies, Rewards21: Rewards21 is an easy and convenient rewards program that gives cashback and reward points for dining at favorite restaurants.
CEO & Co-Founder of MoveSpring
John Contreras is the Co-Founder and CEO at MoveSpring.
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About MoveSpring: MoveSpring is a fun, simple, highly engaging health platform enabling employers to educate and motivate employees toward better health.
CEO of REV UP BRANDS
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About Global Recruiters Network, REV UP BRANDS: REV UP BRANDS is a manufacturer and wholesaler of dance apparel, costumes and accessories from Chicago.
Founder & CEO of Scout
Daniel Roberts is the Founder & CEO at Scout
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About Scout: Scout is a home security system that combines hardware designs and easy-to-use controls.
CEO, Founder of PRE Brands
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About PRE Brands: PRE Brands is a food processing company that specializes in providing grass-fed and finished beef products.
Co-Founder & CEO of SpringFour
Under Rochelle’s leadership, SpringFour became a Certified B Corporation, of which only 2,200 such organizations exist worldwide, won the 2015 Promontory Financial Group’s Empowerment Award for Financial Innovation, was a finalist for Google for Entrepreneur’s program for Women Founders and was selected for the WiSTEM program at 1871, Chicago’s Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship and was chosen as the Top Venture for the Points of Light Civic Accelerator Spring 2017 program. SpringFour was one of six fintech companies chosen for the BMO Harris/1871 Fintech Partnership Program and in 2017 was a finalist for the BAI Global Innovation Award for its work with U.S. Bank, Chicago’s Fifty on Fire Award and the Midwest Women in Tech’s Fintech Award. In 2018, SpringFour was named by FinXTEch/Bank Director as a finalist for the Most Innovative Solution of the Year for its work with U.S. Bank. Ms. Gorey has more than 20 years of experience in public policy, government relations, homeownership and asset building fields through her consulting and employment. She has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison College of Michigan State University and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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About SpringFour: SpringFour’s technology platform connects consumers to local financial health resources, tools and products. SpringFour is a B2B solution.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Honey-Can-Do International
Steve Greenspon is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Honey-Can-Do International.
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About Honey-Can-Do International, Perch: Honey-Can-Do International is a consumer goods company that offers storage and organization products.
CEO and Co-founder of Jiobit
CEO & Co-Founder Jiobit.
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About Jiobit: Jiobit is an electronics company that manufactures the world’s smallest and longest self learning location tracking technology.
Founder & CEO of MiracleCord
Mark Locascio serves as the Founder and CEO of MiracleCord. Mr. Locascio is a highly accomplished entrepreneur, with more than 30 years’ experience serving in senior executive, director and advisory positions throughout his career. He is an innovator whose leadership, expertise, and acute business acumen have served as the foundation for his many business achievements.
After experiencing the loss of a close family member to Leukemia, Mr. Locascio founded MiracleCord in an effort to help other families facing life-threatening diseases and conditions.
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About MiracleCord: MiracleCord is a biotechnology company that provides cord blood and cord tissue banking services to families.
Chief Executive Officer of Move Matcher
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About Move Matcher: Move Matcher is the smartest, fastest and easiest way to book a trusted mover, and we want to hear from you.
CEO of NetThunder
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About NetThunder: NetThunder is an on-premise private cloud solution that is easy to setup and includes services that keep companies running.
CEO of Pixeldom
Kent Mages is CEO at Pixeldom.
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About Pixeldom: Pixeldom enables users to hold meaningful discussions about any topic and be rewarded for their contributions.
CEO of Lystr
Chicago Booth MBA graduating top 5% of my class, NCAA DI All-American, relentlessly resourceful, results-driven entrepreneur, co-founder @Lystr
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About Lystr: Lystr is a connected home device that creates your grocery list for you
Founder, CEO of Pay Your Selfie
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About Pay Your Selfie: Pay Your Selfie is a mobile research company that generates insights from selfie surveys.
Founder / CEO / Software Engineer of Anarchist
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About Anarchist: We’re building hardware and software products that make it easier to create and collaborate in virtual reality and augmented reality.