.The Illinois Commerce Commission announced today that Michael Merchant has been named the agency’s new Executive Director. Merchant fills the vacancy left by Christy George, who went on to become the First Assistant Deputy Governor, Budget & Economy at the Office of the Governor. Having started on March 16th, Merchant is the first African American male to hold the role of Executive Director at the Commission, and he will be responsible for supervising the Commission Staff and overseeing management of the agency’s budget. Presently, there are approximately 204 employees at the ICC. As a dedicated public servant, Merchant most recently held the position of Acting Assistant Director at the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, leading the Business Enterprise Program and the agency on its COVID-19 PPE response. Prior to CMS, he spent four years as the Director of Government Affairs for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority which owns and manages the McCormick Place Complex. He also served in a variety of important positions at the City of Chicago, including as Chief Executive Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority, Commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, and as Deputy Director in the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Michael earned his Bachelor of Science from Morehouse College and his Juris Doctor from DePaul College of Law.