James E. Rooney
James E. Rooney is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, one of the region’s leading business associations.
In his first year as president & CEO of the Boston Chamber, Rooney has created a strong focus on broadening the Chamber’s membership, including producing programs and initiatives designed to attract more young professionals, members of the startup and innovation community, minority-owned, and small businesses. Under Rooney’s guidance, the Chamber has become the leading voice of the business community on public policy issues, issuing more than 20 policy statements in one year, and weighing in on important issues such as energy, matters of equality, education, labor-related issues and policy regarding our state’s competitiveness.
Rooney has extensive experience in advancing economic development and innovation across Greater Boston. 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, start-of-the-art convention center.
Before moving to 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, the Boston Children’s Museum and A Better City (ABC). He is the former Chairman of the Friends of the Fort Point Channel, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Convention Management Association (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.