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James Rooney

President & Chief Executive Officer

James E. Rooney is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the region’s leading business associations.

Named one of Boston’s 2015 50 most Powerful People by Boston Magazine and a 2016 Power 50 Game Changer by the Boston business Journal, Rooney has extensive experience advancing economic development and innovation across Greater Boston. At the Chamber, he has created a strong focus on broadening the Chamber’s membership and programs to include more young professionals, startups, minority-owned and small businesses. With Rooney’s guidance, the Chamber has become a leading voice in advocating for public policies that strengthen the Greater Boston economy and make the Greater Boston region a place where businesses and individuals thrive. In his first year as president & CEO the Chamber issued more than 20 public policy statements, weighing in on important issues such as energy, matters of social equality, education, and policies regarding our state’s overall competitiveness. 

Prior joining the Chamber in 2015, Rooney was executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority for nearly 15 years, overseeing the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston’s Back Bay, the 1,350-space Boston Common Parking Garage, and the MassMutual Center in Springfield, a combined convention center and 6,000-seat arena. Rooney’s leadership played a vital role in the construction of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, a 516,000 square foot, state-of-the-art convention center. Thanks to his leadership, the BCEC was named the 2007 North American Convention Center of the Year, and both the BCEC and the Hynes received the Gold Standard rating from the International Association of Congress Centers, the highest ranking a center can achieve. 

Rooney has received countless recognitions for his innovative work in the hospitality sector, including a 2015 Lifetime Achievement award from the Professional Convention Management Association for his visionary contributions to the international meetings and conventions industry.

Before joining the MCCA in 2001, Rooney served two years as Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. He began his public career at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, where he spent 18 years, starting as a track laborer and ending as Deputy General Manager. During the 1990s, Rooney served in senior positions at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the Central Artery Project.

Rooney sits on several non-profit and community boards in the Boston area, including as Chairman of The Children’s Trust; College Bound Dorchester and the Boston Children’s Museum. He is a member of the PCMA North American Advisory Board to Mexico, as well as a member of the Business Events Customer Advisory Board for Tourism Mexico. He is the former Chairman of the Friends of the Fort Point Channel, a former member of the Board of Directors of PCMA and the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as a former board member of the International Association of Convention Centers.

Rooney grew up in South Boston and attended the prestigious Boston Latin School, graduating as president of his class. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and attended the Boston University School of Management. He and his wife Maryanne reside in Dorchester and have three children.