Wednesday, February 3, 2010

International Financier/Chicago Media Leader James C. Tyree discusses “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the U.S. economy at SXU

Mesirow Financial CEO/President and Sun-Times Media Holdings, LLC chairman expresses guarded optimism about economy, future of the media at “Breakfast with the Experts” series

Chicago (Feb. 3, 2010) Chicago-based business and civic leader James C. Tyree kicked off Saint Xavier University’s 2010 Breakfast with the Experts speaker series with frank talk about the economy, health care, the “unconscionably large” national debt and his recent acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Tyree, who is chairman and CEO of the international financial services firm Mesirow Financial and chairman of Sun-Times Media Holdings, LLC., said America’s business climate can be broken down into “the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good is real opportunities for growth because the business world essentially has been reset. The bad is “there are still serious risks and people should be cautious. The ugly is real estate which isn’t coming back any time soon.”

“We’re devastated there,” he said. “It’ll be a drag on our economy for some time.”
Tyree spoke in support of making health care available not for everyone, but for people who lack insurance, citing health care costs as the biggest source of personal bankruptcies in America.

Tyree said government stimulus spending was necessary to stave off a depression, but questioned how it is being allocated. He called the national debt “unconscionably large,” but doesn’t think it will result in high inflation because of increases in productivity and industrial capacity. He said a greater concern is foreign countries holding the United States’ debt.

Tyree said the business world is rapidly changing due to technological advances. He said the keys to getting ahead are developing new skills and being prepared to use them 24/7.

Overall, Tyree expressed optimism tempered by the realities of the country’s difficult situation. He said jobs still aren’t being created but personal incomes are rising for those who are working.

“It’s going to be slow, choppy growth,” he said, adding he is “100 percent certain that we are going to get through these tough times.”

Tyree also discussed the changing world of the media, particularly the decline of printed news. He said good content driven by facts and professionalism will remain the key driver for journalism in the future but also that newspapers have a bad business model that is evolving because it is not sustainable.

“We’re not out of the woods,” he said. “It’ll take a little time, but we’re confident that the Sun-Times Media Group will be successful.”

In his opening remarks, Tyree attributed his upbringing in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and suburban Oak Lawn with helping him succeed in the business world. He said he wished he could give his own children the strong sense of community he found in his youth.

“The South Side never leaves you,” he said. “Never, ever, ever.”

Breakfast with the Experts is co-sponsored by Saint Xavier University and the Beverly Area Planning Association. This speaker series brings notable business, community and civic leaders together to share insights, experience and industry knowledge with area business people. To suggest a speaker or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please call (773) 298-3311 or email



Jay Foot, Executive Director of Media Relations
O: (773) 298-3937
C: (773) 617-3632

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