John A. Challenger is chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the firm that pioneered employment-transition counseling as an employer-paid benefit in the 1960s.
A recognized thought leader on workplace, labor, and economic issues, his insight is often sought out by major foreign and domestic broadcast and print media.
Challenger is also frequently sought out by conferences, industry groups and professional associations for his perspective on the latest trends and developments impacting their members. In 2009, he delivered keynote addresses to the World Future Society and to a joint session of the Business Continuity Management Summit and Risk Management and Compliance Summit, organized and hosted by Gartner, Inc. He spoke recently at the inaugural Leadership Development Program at the Executives’ Club of Chicago. In December 2009, Challenger was invited by the office of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to join the Mayor and prominent business leaders at a Job Summit to address unemployment, job creation, and other economic issues.
Challenger has delivered keynote addresses to Summit at Fisher, conducted by The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business; the UCLA Anderson School of Management; the annual conference of the Ethics Officers Association; and conferences of leading business executives in Japan.
Challenger gave testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on the issue of permanent job loss in a global economy. At the height of the turmoil over corporate governance, Challenger authored an article on the issue for the OpEd page of The Wall Street Journal. He served on the labor/human resource committee of The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for a three-year term.
Challenger is very active in professional, industry and civic organizations. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Economic Club of Chicago. Challenger serves on the President’s Circle steering committee of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the Board of Governors for the Japan America Society of Chicago. He currently serves on the boards of Children’s Memorial Hospital and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Challenger also served on the board of governors of the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago from 2005 through 2009. He chaired the organization’s 2005 Summit, during which he conducted an interview with former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman.
Challenger is also active in the Young Presidents Organization, World Presidents Organization and the Chief Executives Organization. In 2009, he was on the host committee of Chicago 2016, which sought to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago. For the past three years (2007, 2008, 2009), Challenger has been listed among the Who’s Who in Chicago Business, published annually by Crain’s Chicago Business.
A graduate of Harvard University, Challenger is a member of the Harvard Alumni Association, in which he currently is a member of the HAA Nominating Committee for Overseers. He served as Great Lakes Regional Director from 2004 to 2008. He also was President of the Harvard Club of Chicago from 2002 to 2004.